Grotto | Jenine Marsh | December 9, 2010 to January 27, 2011


Grotto, a multi-media, site-specific project by Jenine Marsh, is both a place of sighting and of vestige, a space of longing through the interiorized fixity of its objects. What are grottoes but bejewelled and encrusted caverns inside the hollowed out husks of ancient beasts, or the mundane remains of daily labour behind the curtains of a short-lived spectacle? What are grottoes but sand castles riddled with the pox of beach debris, or the curiously cadaverous backstage mechanics of pulleys and ropes and silent, sulking instruments of performance? The mouths of grottos often seem interrupted in the act of shrinking and sealing, while tiny forms of life have since found homes upon their frozen jaws and within the gaping maw within.

Marsh’s Grotto is of the fixed, encapsulated space of the studio; a space of construction and invention, of appearances and apparent evidence.  Silent and seemingly abandoned, these might be the sleeping shapes in a forgotten nest of fury. Or has the gaze turned this scene to stone, its window display of studio artifacts livid in the film left by the fugitive viewer? It may be that these interior forms of private construction operate as in the logic of dreams; the invented space taking form which, as French art historian Henri Focillon writes, “prolongs and diffuses itself throughout our dreams and fancies…as a kind of fissure through which crowds of images aspiring to birth may be introduced into some indefinite realm” [1]


Text by Kim Neudorf

Works cited:

1. Focillon, Henri. The Life of Forms, trans. C.B. Hogan and G. Kubler
(New Haven: Yale University Press, 1942), p.34