Now open at LEA 6, in what is the final installation under the UWA’s Full sim Art series as we’re currently familiar with it, is Rebeca Bashly’s When Life Gives You Apples … Run
As Jayjay Zifanwee notes while introducing the piece in the UWA blog, it is fitting that Rebeca should be the final artist to participate in the Full sim Art series in its current format; in 2011, she was the very first artist to participate in the series – indeed, in any LEA exhibition – when her remarkable interpretation of Dante’s Inferno opened in October of that year (my review of which you can read here).
When Life Gives You Apples … Run Offers a provocative look at the subject of the abuse of women, either by others or by themselves. “Looking at various myths, legends and fairy tales, apple seems to be pretty unfortunate for a woman. When an apple appears in a story, you know that something will go bad,2 Rebeca says of the piece. “From Eve, thru Greek mythology to Snow White there was always a catch with an apple. It is beautiful, delicious, tempting, seductive. A Perfect disguise for all bad that can come. I use it as a symbol for the monstrosities that woman too often don’t recognise as such in its early stages.”
And indeed, the central part of the installation is – an apple. A quiet incredible apple in fact – or at least the core of one, as it has clearly been eaten. Constructed of mesh and over 70 metres tall, the apple sits on the ground, stalk pointing to the sky, the uneaten flesh at its lower end serving as the arrival point, where a smaller apple sits, offering visitors an introductory note card.
Winding up through the the core of the apple is a tunnel visitors are asked to follow. This leads the way up to a couple of teleport platforms at different levels within the apple’s core, a sculpture in occupying the space between them; and it is by taking these teleports that the visitor is led to the parts of the installation dealing more directly with the theme of abuse (or perhaps “subjugation” might be an equally valid term) either inflicted from within or without.
In the first, Home Sweet Home, we see a house being torn apart by a giant heart, both suspended above an open road – itself an image of freedom. The accompanying story suggestive of a person caught in a relationship marked by the abuse of lairs, deceptions, stories, words, finally breaking the circle and finding freedom in herself and in the world at large.
In the second, the subject matter focuses on self-abuse in the form of anorexia nervosa and Bulimia nervosa, and the destructive effects they can have on those stricken with them. This is also accompanied by a story, that of the Doll’s House.
There is strong symbolism throughout this installation, be it with the story platforms, or the sculpture of the caged women. Even the tunnel winding up through the apple core has a meaning of its own, for example; an echo of the way in which maggots can bore through an apple, ruining its wholesome appearance via decay from the inside, just as relationships or lives which might appear whole from from outside are slowly decaying from within, as with the vignettes presented by this build.
As noted towards the top of this article, When Life Gives You Apples … Run is a provocative piece; but one of Rebeca’s strengths is that she’s never fought shy of making people think. As such, this is a worthy piece on which to close the current UWA Full Sim Art series.