Allow yourself to question reality as you enter the world of Façade.
Art is meant to provoke intense and unusual emotions in us. Some people even break down in tears after seeing a beautiful piece of art that touches their heart. On top of that, we're always told that art should inspire nice and pleasant feelings in us, like love, joy, and happiness. However, art can do so much more than that. It can make us question our reality, reveal our deepest fears and desires, and even change how we see ourselves. One example of this kind of inspiring art is an installation titled Façade by artist Fiona Roberts.
The word façade has two meanings. First, it's the front of a building, but it also means false or superficial appearance, and this is the main inspiration behind Roberts’ installation. The whole purpose of the exhibition is to allow our mind to be tricked into believing that the altered reality that she has built can trigger unusual thoughts in our minds. For example, “The Bracelet” is a bedroom with a golden chain hanging from the ceiling that has random objects and body parts attached to it. Would you feel comfortable sleeping under that thing? Didn't think so. But Roberts describes it as:
"A ceramic chain with ceramic charms. The charms include a bezoar stone, a cloud, an open book, a heart, a hand, a flip cough/kiss coin, and a hand padlock that is deceptive in its sense of security…"
Roberts’ art incorporates aspects of the human body and plays with our ideas about home. In a way, her work explores the conflict between society's obsession with the body and perfection, and the comfort we find in our private spaces, like our bedroom, living room, and dining room. Her art doesn't just challenge reality, it also makes us think of our own bodies as scary and disturbing. But are they? Our body is natural. We see and feel it every day. Why does it make us uncomfortable? That's the kind of questions Roberts would like you to ask yourself.
For instance, you could feel completely comfortable with a dining room table, but Roberts wishes to make you realize this comfort zone is nothing but a superficial and prefabricated thought of the mind. She hangs framed eyes on the walls, displays fingers and hairs inside a sink, puts open mouths in soup bowls, and attaches sculpted hands and feet to a chain hanging from a bedroom ceiling, all to prove you how your mind can be persuaded into believing these conceived ideas of “safe spaces” are now a threat to you and your body. In other words, it enhances your insecurities.
Her work is creative and witty, and her technique with ceramics, hair, digital imaging, and household objects is fascinating. Most of the sculptures look very real and the details on the shadows, reds, and pinks definitely bring them to life.
“Cinnabar Red,” is the name of the dining table and soup bowls filled with a milky-looking substance full of mouths. To me, this is a representation of the small talk that takes place during diner. We use our mouths to speak and eat, so how ironic would it be to eat mouths that speak and eat too. But, as the artist mentions, “nothing is as it seems.”
Roberts' installation Façade was on display from February through March 2018 at the Adelaide Central Gallery. She has also presented other solo exhibitions like Intimate Vestiges. You can definitely recognize her work with human body elements like eyes, mouths, faces, and hands. Her Instagram account is filled with interesting images that will leave you intrigued, so make sure you follow her.
Images by @fiona_roberts_artist
Check out these other artist's works: