Magazine article Artforum International

Richard Torchia

Magazine article Artforum International

Richard Torchia

Article excerpt

STATE MUSEUM OF PENNSYLVANIA

Through his use of lenses, Richard Torchia explores the history of perceptual systems, simultaneously confirming the pleasures of the experiential moment and drawing on the tradition of the camera obscura. In two earlier installations, Torchia invited the viewer into the "dark room" where he placed lenses in an exterior wall to reveal the world outside in a dizzying (in)version of reality. His recent, site-specific installation, Birds of the Commonwealth, A Peepshow, 1992, reflected a new level of control over the world his lenses might illuminate--here, Torchia included references to trompe l'oeil painting and 17th-century Dutch peep shows.

Given access to a selection of mounted birds from the museum's study collection, Torchia created a pair of displays bordering a small staircase in the lobby. A slight wooden structure--a plein-air version of a camera obscura--framed and housed the birds. The walls were gone and the birds hung upside-down from fishing line tied to branches or to an open-canopied grid above. But for this skeleton of a dropped ceiling, all of the structural forms were round, directly referencing the architecture of the museum and much of its "modern," '60s detailing. As a conceptual take on the dioramas in the museum's Hall of Mammals, a circular photographic scene--one of water, one of woods--provided a backdrop for the dangling birds. At each display, a group of seven lenses covered with circles of frosted glass, and positioned at varying heights, surrounded the birds like so many eyes. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.