The sleek, undulating form of Here alludes to the aerodynamic design of a racecar. But in contrast to first impressions, this work is an admonition to explore stillness: the condition of being present. Rather than being a safety harness to help one withstand high speeds, the straps are there to aid the viewer in assuming the proper position to engage with the work. The idea is to be comfortable but receptive, not to curl up and fall sleep.
Siobhán suggests that we all intrinsically possess the potential to activate this engagement with the here and now, and that the work merely has a placebo effect. Several of the works included in the exhibition explore the longing to be free, and Here stands as a key point of departure for this artistic investigation. The largest and most complex of those works she has created from fiberglass, it is also the only one that suggests a performative function. Unfortunately, the surface of the work is too delicate to allow visitors to interact with it physically.
The perfectly smooth surfaces were achieved through computer-modeling and countless hours of meticulous labor. By polishing and reducing, Siobhán removed all trace of herself from the work in order to provide the viewer with a potent unmediated encounter. She has called it “removing the umbilical cord” from the work.
I wanted them [the works] to have a cultural amnesia. You couldn’t bring everyday references to them, they would slide off like a Teflon surface. Siobhán Hapaska
Lisa Martin, Exhibition Assistant for Siobhán Hapaska, September 2013