Real Illusions brings together 5 poignant pieces from the Holiday in Hope project spanning the years 1997 to 2017. Organized by artist and curator Maristela Ribero, the works were Installed in four rooms at the Museu Regional de Artes in Feira de Santana, Brazil in May of 2019.
Each installation represents a different direction taken with the fictional characters of Holiday in Hope. Their selection speaks of the multiple ways in which the fictional village has expanded over time and evolved to ruminate over our human condition, our utopian ideals, and our vulnerability. The oldest piece in the exhibition is a looping video of a black and white super-8 film installation designed for the Islip Museum in New York, in 1997 - The Conversation. The piece introduces the male and female characters of “Hope” in an infinite conversation, silent to the viewer but full of gesture and expression. With this reinhabiting of the installation in an enclosed picture frame the characters become “historical” and begin the broader conversation with and between works that come several years later - a conversation not envisioned before this exhibition.
Installed in Room 1 with The Conversation is [Goya’s Third of May, 1808], 2012, presented for the first time in vinyl adhesive. The frame, also in vinyl adhesive, was a recent addition included to emphasize the illusory nature within the individual piece, its presentation, and the fictional construction of the overarching umbrella project Holiday in Hope.
Installed in Room 2 is Big Game, a cycloramic photographic installation of a big game hunter facing down a wounded lion, originally configured for Annika Sundvik Gallery Project Room( Snake Show Project Space) in New York City in 2005. The reconfiguration of the installation in Brazil allowed for the space between the hunter and lion to be the doorway - a physical opening as much as a metaphorical opening into the installations in Room 1 and 3. A juxtaposition of the characters performing.
Installed in Room 3 is Smoking Gun, a cycloramic photographic installation commissioned by the CONTACT Photography Festival for the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art in Toronto in 2007. A playful piece with dark and heavy undertones, it is accompanied by an ominous soundtrack that could be heard throughout the exhibition, providing another conceptual thread throughout the exhibition.
Installed in Room 4 is The Lacemaker’s Secret, a series of animated projections conceived of during a residency at the Instituto Sacatar in Brazil and a piece that pushes the Holiday in Hope project into the workings of a real fishing village as well as the abstract.
The most rewarding part of the exhibition was how the audience interacted with the work during the installation - with the museum’s crew and throughout the exhibition with the general public. Posing with the characters in the murals became an infectious game, as was interacting with the abstracted lace videos.