A photographic response to the sculptural work of Daniel Hosego
My artistic response to Daniel Hosego’s mixed media installation combining wood, G clamps, spotlights, wire, stacking crates, focusing lenses and canvases. Size variable.
The title of Daniel Hosego’s latest installation, The Cat in the Box in the Forest of Falling Trees (2011-2012) is a reference to Austrian physicist Erwin Schrodinger’s ʻCat in a Box’ thought experiment and Bishop George Berkley’s musings on the possibility of unperceived existence. Erwin Schrodinger’s famous experiment hypothesized that a cat locked in a steel box with a poisonous radioactive substance will exist in a superposition of states as both alive and dead as long as no one opens the box and determines its fate. Bishop George Berkley’s ʻA Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge’ (1710) marks the genesis of the idea that would eventually become articulated into the famous paradox, ʻIf a tree falls in the forest but no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?’
These themes of existential duality and the necessity of observation to activate the thing being perceived are integral to Daniel Hosego’s work. As an artist Daniel Hosego has continually investigated the hows and whys which are fundamental to all artistic endeavors. With his latest installation, The Cat in the Box in the Forest of Falling Trees (2011-2012), Daniel has explored the interdependent relationship that exists between artist, artwork and art viewer.
The focus of the installation is 5 arborescent structures (2m x 1.8m x 1.8m) mounted on stacking palettes. While appearing to be a disorderly mass of wood, wires and spotlights, the structures are arranged so the spot lights all point outwards in one of several directions. Each of the bulbs in the spotlights has been covered in electrical tape that has then been carefully carved with a scalpel to shape the light emitted. All these different pieces of shaped light act like a jigsaw puzzle, coming together at various points in space around the structures to create large scale simulacrum of iconic art works.
The installation is arranged so these simulacrums are in varying states throughout. Some are readily visible on canvas interventions within the space, others are arranged to meld with each other creating new imagery not easily discernible as its original form. While others are not visible at all and force the viewer to become an active participant, using their bodies as the canvas in order to perceive them. The paintings created have been selected purposely because of their iconic status and the immediacy with which most people will be able to recognize and relate to them.
The combination of this recognizable iconic imagery, viewer participation and the sculpted structures breaks down the established relationship between artist, artwork and viewer. On one level the viewer is confronted by these large structures that clearly show the artist’s hand in their construction and are art objects in their own right. On another these art objects are themselves creating ‘artworks’ albeit artworks which are the intellectual property of other artists. As an active participant the viewer is inserted right into the centre of this multifaceted series of objects, surfaces and spaces in a superposition of states and challenged to define for themselves the relationship between all of them. Crucially the piece offers no answers to these questions, engaging the viewer/participant in an open ended conversation rather than a one sided monologue.