In Shadow, as in many other works, Hapaska plays with the categories “art” versus “object for use” and shows the falsity of this division. Contradictions exist between the work’s form, material, and function: it is made from conventional audio speaker materials and it emits sound, but its form refutes a purely utilitarian interpretation.
The artist created three similar works in 1993–1995, each titled Heart and taking the form of a distorted heart. In Shadow, this form has mutated and divided in two: a large supine section underneath a small overhanging drum. The dimensions are human-sized, while the composition suggests a horizon line or landscape.
The sound of birdsong and flowing water emanates from the large section, punctuated at intervals by the deafening roar of a jet engine. From the smaller form comes the steady hum of white noise. Hapaska has described this work as a meeting between the idyllic and the fear-inducing. Panic and turmoil may strike at any moment, but they just as surely fade away again. An enigmatic presence on the wall, Shadow speaks but does not explain itself.
Lisa Martin, Exhibition Assistant for Siobhán Hapaska, September 2013