By Dominick Cross via The Advertiser
Wagon wheels hang from the ceiling. Nine large vases with photo portraits of individuals facing out from the back await water. A ladder leads to a metal horse on a pedestal some 10 feet above the floor.
Charred timbers from the artist’s studio that burned during Hurricane Katrina are on the floor for now; by the time ArtWalk rolls around Saturday, they’ll be dangling from above.
And so goes the installation process of Dawn DeDeaux’s exhibit “Mothership 2: Dreaming of a Future Past” at Acadiana Center for the Arts. It will be completed early next week and show from mid-July to mid-September.
DeDeaux is a conceptual artist who works in a wide array of media and is one of the first Louisiana artists to utilize electronic technology.
“When we invited Dawn, we knew she had different components of different kinds of works,” said Brian Guidry, AcA curator.
“Each show is different. Each show develops differently,” Guidry said. “The show previous to this was ‘Face Time.’ That show was composed of about 18 artists and Mary Beyt (curation assistant, AcA) and I worked together and that show came about much differently than Dawn’s.”
Guidry sent DeDeaux a floor plan of the main gallery and she worked with it with some of the components of her work “and already had a preconceived idea of where things would go in relationship to the different bodies of works and how they related,” to each other and the space, said Guidry. “However, from my experience and hers, when you get into the space, things change a lot.”
That’s why DeDeaux was in town last week and is expected to be in Lafayette tomorrow.
“She’s here to kind of like direct where things go and how she wants things displayed in the space in context with one another, with the different bodies of work,” said Guidry.
There is rhyme and reason to consider when hanging a show; there’s the shape of the gallery, including height and width – “it’s a very long, rectangular room, it’s kind of like a big aquarium,” Guidry said of AcA’s main gallery.
Then there’s consideration for the pieces going in, too, and for that DeDeaux has been involved in the installation. And that makes it easier for the curators and the artist, too.
“It’s usually easier because I have to sort of forfeit a portion of the stress that goes along with deciding where things go,” said Guidry. “But at the same time, Dawn has relied on Mary and I for our expert knowledge of that space and how things would look better against each other, or in relation to each other. And some things about the space we know right off hand.”
Benjamin Koch, a part-time AcA employee and recent University of Louisiana Lafayette graduate in visual arts, works with the curators preparing the galleries for the next show.
“It’s just trying to get those holes spackled and painted,” said Koch, adding that the process is “pretty much equal for each exhibition.”
But now that the exhibit will open next weekend and his basics work is done, he can take in DeDeaux’s exhibit as it comes together as he helps out the curators.
“I love the reflections of everything, the shadow work,” said Koch. “And I love how it’s a one woman show.”
See video on the installation process at www.theadvertiser.com