Display Cases in the Great Hall: Exhibition Archive

Dean Dempsey

June 20th to August 8th, 2014


Dean Dempsey

As a photographer and a filmmaker, Dean Dempsey plays with questions of identity by masking his figures, removing them from our gaze with layers and adornment, or by placing them into carefully arranged tableaus that reveal a multiplicity of meanings.

In his film Dreamsequence, women are posed in diferent rooms that suggest a dramatic stage set. One kneels on the floor in an empty room filling with balloons that drop randomly from the ceiling, and later sits in a chair, lifting her face to a shower of golden glitter raining down upon her skin. The other perches on a chair in a bay window, naked except for the paint on her face, and the tulle enveloping her lower limbs. She moves without speaking, holding a bird in a cage. In the close ups of their faces shown here, they appear as though they are remembered from a dream.

One is dazzled, her eyes closed, and her skin coated with gold glitter. The other, looking directly at the viewer, is masked in a slick opaque Kabuki paint, the thickness of the red ink layered onto smooth skin. Tulle covers her shoulder and bust and frames the face from below. The installation features these photographs in the cases, seen through clouds of colored tulle, loosely bound with soft white or black ribbons. Red threads hold the veils of tulle in knots, and the tulle forms a frame to the photographs, like transparent baroque curtains framing the portrait subjects.

These film stills are moments caught in time. Printed on two sheets, they form halves of a whole face, one glossy color, and one black and white on thin paper. A ribbon divides the faces where two sheets meet. In the beds of the cases under glass, and gauzy tulle, the faces appear as if taken from memory, part of the evanescent dream sequences we share.


Case One:
Film Still, multimedia archival prints
Case bound with tulle, thread, binding tapes and ribbon

Case Two:
Film Still, multimedia archival prints
Case bound with tulle, thread, binding tapes and ribbon

All works Courtesy of the Artist and BOSI ContemporaryOpen link in new window
Artist websiteOpen link in new window
Curated by Lisa A. Banner