My interest in installation started in 1998 with a simple interest in seeing how the stacking of brick, this hard but handy-sized construction material, could interact with the viewer’s body and psychology as well as the shape of a given space. Early projects included furniture and trash found on or near the site, primitively referencing the quotidian spaces that traditionally exist apart from the gallery. The work also played with given architectural elements of a site: the first made use of an archway, (Dis)mantle Building Set Four the massive heaters and painted-over-and-over grills in a downtown gallery. Her Signs Are Expressively Charged was in a unit of a Manhattan Mini Storage facility and thus notions of mobility and modularity were reiterated in the work by a location that already encompassed these qualities.
For Midway Contemporary Art in St. Paul, Minnesota, I produced an audio recording of the installation and deinstallation of a 533-concrete-block piece. I clipped a lavaliere microphone to my shirt and, as I put up and took down the work, had it record my speech and breathing into a Motu 828 and an iBook. This equipment also documented the other noise in the room including the sounds of the telephone and people chatting. Entitled A Model of Contemporary Existence That Is At Once Universal & Personal, the 9-hour piece presented viewers with an aural simulation of the (Dis)mantle Building process. The disclosure of the work process alternately enacted the spirit invested in the work that persists after the objects have been discarded.
For Andrew Kreps, I recorded the installation of another massive piece, leaving the blocks, the Motu, and iBook on top of the 450 cement blocks. Gallery-goers thus heard sound footage on headphones on the same equipment that documented the making of the work in a symmetry that paralleled the one physically present in the sculpture-base.
Far from an allegory of infinite modularity and mobility, my pieces embody a way of seeing, a doctrine of situated, sustained, transforming objectivity. The installations enact singular conflations of multiple experiential spaces: the pictorial one of illusionism, the phenomenological one of sculptural environments, and the social one of the fluid heterogeneity of the city.
Akiko Ichikawa 2004