denis savary

Giant, ‘not-quite-right’ dollhouses? I can’t think of more perfect way to kick off a Monday morning! This is the work of Geneva based artist Denis Savary, and these images are from his current show, titled “Ithica”, at Galerie Maria Bernheim in Zurich. Here is the gallery’s description:

The name of the exhibition Ithaca refers to the American city home to the famous and liberal Cornell University, one of the main areas of development of the American film industry, which owes its name to the dreamed homeland of Odysseus. 

Three disproportionately large dollhouses are displayed on antique rugs, based on models of very common houses, a typical Swiss Villa. They seem pushed to the limit of their stability, revealing the weakness and the narrowness of their original suburbs, like those cut out by Gordon Matta Clark. Their intentional blandness lets through glimpses of strange interior scenes, forcing the viewer to approach them cautiously. Their dimensions, the meticulousness of their structures and the effects of distortion open them to our interpretation; simultaneously art historical and literary references come through, a room is plastered with a wallpaper based on Marcel Duchamp, who painted a reduced version of the “Nude descending a staircase” for the dollhouse of one of his collectors. One thinks of Robert Gober, whom Denis Savary had already evoked a few years ago, when he appropriated the gallery owner’s doll house, realizing a full exhibition as an extension of this work in a space whose architecture echoed it (La Villa, villa Bernasconi 2010), publishing as the only exhibition catalog views of the interior of this dollhouse. These new sculptures also recall early videos by Savary that seemed to be shot from the window of his family home, located on the outskirts of a small town with no specific quality.

“Ithica” runs until February 27th, 2021.

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