Claire van Blerck


In collaboration with Kyle Morland

Side gallery, 21 October - 27 November 2010

Michael Stevenson is pleased to present an installation by Claire van Blerck in collaboration with Kyle Morland. This is the fifth project in the side gallery series in 2010. Van Blerck writes:

There is no need to elucidate on the unique feeling of journeying inside an elevator to somebody who has experienced it. The particular feelings of having travelled, but no horizontal distance merely up or down by a few metres, with no proof of that journey except the flashing of lights or the opening and closing of doors. In ordinary life there is no equivalent to the quiet, suppressed stress that goes with elevator travel. When you are dimly aware of the way that the carriage is suspended by wires in a tunnel of darkness, and that the music you hear is only to cover the sound of your own awkward breaths. Sinking into thought among reflections or focusing on a specific point, the glowing numeral anticipating your stop. It is a limbo space, too quickly experienced to be ignored, too intimate to forget. There is no privacy in fluorescent lights and mirrors. There is nobody who doesn't brace themselves for the first lurch of the carriage. There are no exits but the one everyone is facing and watching.

This work is a prop, a skeleton of the elevator carriage itself. An object, but also a creature. A generic representation of that interior, lurking in the darkened room. The carriage is non-functional, but the atmosphere of an elevator is not dependant on vertical travel. This model focuses primarily on the interior, a space separate from the rest of the building, and the only experience we have of the entire contraption. The visual experience of the carriage interior is enough to excite these feelings that are so universal in passengers.

The atmosphere inside these containers either silences conversation, or renders it forced and self-conscious. The elevator works best as a place of thought and meditation. This work functions as a portrait for the solitary traveller - there is no space in which the individual is more alone than when they are travelling in an elevator, temporary and functionless.

Born in 1987 in Johannesburg, Van Blerck graduated from the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town, in 2009. Her work was included in Greatest Hits at the AVA, Cape Town, in 2009, and Time on Our Hands at the Clocktower Mall, V&A Waterfront, in 2010.