Installation - glass
This is an intimate installation with a daily object, glass, which is very much a personal item: we all have our favorite glass. But glasses also represent the importance of community as they are objects which denote friendship and conviviality. Glass is also symbolic of the urban environment! it is man made and ubiquitous in every city and town. Placed upside down, it becomes a shelter, protecting the environment. The lawn effect created by the plants is a clear reference to the power of nature but it is also intended to be a metaphor for the community through the homogeneous green color. Together, the glasses and the plants are in some kind of symbiotic relationship and the overall effect of the installation is greater than the sum of the individual glasses and plants. That, in turn, emphasizes the value and power of the community.
Virginie Knight is a French artist based in Shanghai who enacts site-specific projects that arise through performance, sculpture, intervention, and performance. She has a Bachelor’s and a Master’s of Fine Art from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. She wields objects that are daily and common like auguring stones. Through site-specific installation and performance, Knight tangles with artifacts, emblems, rituals, and gimcracks. As the development of residential areas transforms them into public, thematic, kitsch shrines replicating culture, the space itself loses locality, instead becoming functional. By expressing personal perspective on public space, she levitates and observes the preset notions of structure and its use that people carry with them. Knight’s perspective is fueled by the misunderstanding that comes with a relocation across cultural boundaries. Outsiders are allowed to suspend social weight for at least some time. This allows for observation of the enactments under practice and the rituals she herself carries. It is unclear if at any point we put them down. Rather, there may be perpetual search for a place or thing with which to commemorate our socially-weighted practices. Knight’s work between Hong Kong and Shanghai elicit liaisons of identity between people and the objects they bring into their day-to-day. Much of what she does is performative, even when it’s not necessarily a performance, though she often displays her own human presence in theatre and enactment. She has studied at the Shanghai Theater Academy. Working first out of Hong Kong and then Shanghai, she is flexible in her use of public space as a foothold. She used the image of the yellow umbrella in 2007. Exploring through identity, Knight prods at our immobile and hankering need for reaffirmation from our physical environment. Her work expresses her own feelings, even when they are deeply personal. That’s good. Otherwise, one might worry that she only exists in the public, which must become tiring.