I recently wrote about Gem Preiz’s new exhibition Geometry and Genesis , which forms one of the exhibits in this year’s Fine Arts Tour (FIAT) on display at the Galeria Mexico during the month of September.
Also participating in this year’s Tour is another artist friend of mine, Derry McMahon. As the founder (now retired) of the Seanchai Library in SL, Derry has taken as the theme for her exhibit none other than Miguel de Cervantes’ much-loved literary hero, the Ingenious Gentleman of La Mancha himself, Don Quixote.
We’re all familiar with the tale of this stranger in a strange land, on his quest to make the world a better place, and who sees the world not as it is, but as it should be. A tale which, as Derry noted to me in discussing her exhibit, a perfect foil to explore Second Life from the perspective of both imagination and the many ways in which we create and show our own visions of this strange and beautiful digital land.
In presenting Don Quixote, Derry effectively takes on the role of visual chronicler to Alonso Quijano’s explorations through Second Life. She presents this idea very cleverly through one of the images in the exhibition, where she can be seen kneeling to photograph the Don, who appears none too certain about having his image captured.
This is a charming and whimsical display of some 28 images captured from around SL and spread over two floors of exhibition space. Some of them feature motifs drawn from Don Quixote’s adventures – there are a few windmills to be found, together with a tavern scene, horses and jousting lances. Others are far more reflective of the stranger in a strange land element, and will likely raise a bemused eyebrow – as they probably did for the Don himself!
The whimsy is evident in images of the Don sitting outside on a caravan, guitar by his side as if awaiting to be called up to a stage and perform – itself perhaps a subtle reference to The Man of LaMancha musical. Then there is the wonderful image of the Don astride a mechanical rodeo horse – a tilting of an entirely different kind!
Derry mixes her art with images of posters from the Wasserman / Darion musical The Man of La Mancha (itself an adaptation of a teleplay by Wasserman) and which was in turn adapted into the 1972 Arthur Miller film starring Peter O’Toole and Sophia Loren, which also appears in poster form. Excerpts from the sheet music give further ambience to the exhibit.
All told, Don Quixote is a delightful display, the images fresh and imaginative and which easily put one in mind of some of the memorable songs from the musical. When touring FIAT, be sure not to miss it.
And on the subject of songs from the musical, there really is only one way to close this piece – and that’s with the marvellous Scott Bakula performing a medley from the musical.