The Waiting Room

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An installation and collaboration between Ryan Thayer (US) and Heidi Hove (DK) at Koh-i-noor, Copenhagen, June 2009.

Excerpts from the press release:

The Waiting Room is the first collaborative exhibition between Ryan Thayer (US) and Heidi Hove (DK). Thayer and Hove have created individual works that are displayed together in a collaboratively built environment. Using concepts common to their artistic practices, they have constructed a waiting room (architecturally and metaphorically) to hold a conversation on how their respective American and European cultures influence and infect one another. Having separately lived abroad in each other’s culture, they shared the experience of being a foreigner, living in a culture that you can see but can never fully inhabit, always an outsider.

Within the exhibition a series of encounters have been setup between objects, whose functions have been exaggerated or entirely altered, to create the appearance of a functional waiting room. However, this waiting room is a state of suspension. Ryan Thayer has created a series of sculptures in which pieces of furniture have been turned into terrariums. A row of folding chairs line the walls of the room providing both places to sit down and act as the base of custom-built terrariums for housing plants, presenting microenvironments where the outside world has been brought inside. Additionally, he has created a circular lamp that has been customized to fill the space of the gallery. Other elements have been installed by Heidi Hove to recreate a sense of familiar but mundane activities that take place while navigating the waiting room environment. Among other things, she provides the room with a play space and a green area with plants. These objects seem very ordinary at first sight, but on closer inspection the objects have been undergoing changes, and the familiar and comfortable has been replaced with the unclear and unstable. Each of these objects are discrete artworks set in relationship to one another in a conversation on interior design, public and private roles and the psychology of space. When viewed from the street outside, this relationship, between inside and outside, has been placed slightly out of focus by the presence of privacy film over the window of the gallery. The relationship between what can be seen inside and what can be known outside has been obscured and simultaneously made more desirable.

This collaboration was also born out of a sense of crisis and takes place during a time of dramatic political and economic shifts. These rapidly changing events included political elections, economic bubbles bursting, bank bailouts and toxic investments all occurring simultaneously at a global scale. A home mortgage created on one side of the world could bankrupt a bank on the other side of the globe. A speech in one part of the world could have profound effects on race relations in another. The sphere of influence had grown so large that this level of interference could not be avoided. As each of these events took place new goals were set up, new doors to walk through. As each event passed it was agreed that change was immanent. However, these new developments only brought about a familiar cycle of anticipation and suspension and were replaced with a series of questions: Will things ever change? What are we waiting for? Will we ever be satisfied? This dramatic sense of change seemed to embody an all too familiar sense of waiting, an artificial bubble where everything slows down, a condition of becoming but never being. The waiting room was chosen as the place to house all of these contradictions and complexities.