Review of Tricia Middleton’s Dark Souls at the MACM
Interview with Tricia Middleton
Tricia Middleton’s “Dark Souls” instillation at the Museum Contemporary Art of Montreal looks at our world and the effects consumption has on our environment. It looks at the after effects of consumption and what happens to a product after we are finished using it, as the object still exists long after we have finished with it. The viewer is literally assaulted as they enter into the instillation piece as we are confronted with a cornucopia with common objects we utilize daily with out thought of consequence of where they go after. I am not talking about stuff we’re suppose to put in the recycling like packaging or news print, the viewer is confronted actual objects that when disposed of we no longer think of. Bras, shoes, canes, piping, fluff, kid’s toys, lawn ornaments, old furniture, all sort of thing we all have stuffed away in a garage, a junk drawer or closet, really waiting to be disposed of. Believing it might come in useful at a later date. The same things we justify donating to charity thinking we can not use it but think others will. All of these thing eventually out live their use in our life times and end up in a landfill, taking thousands of years to biodegrade, no big deal, until you factor in the millions and millions of people of other people who populate our planet, now we have a problem. In this first room which I entered this is exactly what I saw. A miniature contemporary landfill pleasantly coated with paint or spray to ensure it lasted longer, its ugliness beautified by the choice of rose and blue color lighting.
As one further enters the structure she built, the artist shows in various ways what happens when our material world and the natural world collide. Sometimes the natural world wins and over takes other times the natural world will be destructed and the only reminisce of it will be our representation of that world. Such as the room where the guest is invited to take a seat or to lay down and stare at the video of stars embedded in the roof another example of this is when the viewer is invited to watch and listen of a video of water running down a natural enclave on a large television screen. Examples of nature reproduced in an institution for when nature no longer exists. On the other hand when nature wins it still bares scares of our interference as represented when looking at two different tree like structures which seem to have grown through waste we have left. One is an enormous tree which has grown beyond the height of a human. As one walks around it you can see that it has encompassed and “grown” around cans which are embedded or have been encompassed by the tree structure. Another tree seen in this instillation is far more feeble struggles to grow out of some sort of insulation foam or plastic. In both works though, nature seems to be overtaking the unnatural elements, yet the debris of our society is still reminiscent.
The wonderful thing about this work is you can not escape its truth, as it lays heavily on your mind as you are reminded of it every were you turn. This seems less like an instillation work and more like a coming soon trailer, for when the natural world has been left in disaster and he only remnants that can be found of it are our reproductions. Or visits the waste lands where one sees the natural world struggle and mutates to continue on. If you do not want to be compelled to think about the way in which you live or what you consume don’t go see this work because it confronts the viewer making them look at their unconscious contribution to the destruction of our planet .