A Concrete Diorama in Second Life

Concrete Diorama – G.B.T.H Project

The G.B.T.H. (Grab By The Horns) Project, curated by Megan Prumier and Marina Münter, and described as being “focused on the extension of creative processes, 3D environments and art related subjects”, opened its August 2018 exhibition at the start of the month.

Concrete Diorama features the work of sculptor Mistero Hifeng, presented in a strange, semi-dark environment where the contrasts of dark  – black and grey – spaces with the bursts of brilliant white within some chambers is as much a part of the exhibition as Mistero’s pieces.

Concrete Diorama – G.B.T.H Project

From the landing point, visitors travel along a semi-dark hallway, lined by port holes lit by spotlights. Each portal looks out over individual scenes of couples caught in acts of tenderness, suggesting a theme of love (and perhaps loss or regret). A second darkened hallway follows, windows on either side looking out onto scenes of figures floating in bubbles. Further along, two large proportioned figures stand beside cracked models of the moon, ramps to either side of them leading up to the first of the white chambers. Here, figures lie in a circle, prostrated under fine mess nettings, all facing a central lone tree.

In further chambers dancers perform ballet as couples lie in shallow troughs in the floor, whilst a grand diorama focused on a piece called Bruciando Ricordi (Burning Memories) awaits in the uppermost chamber of the exhibition space.

It’s a haunting, evocative setting, rich in mood and emotion. The expressions of love and loss, coupled with pleading, desire, and regret are all present throughout – most clearly through the crowning piece that features Bruciando Ricordi, which joined by the likes of La Magia di Quell’incanto (The Magic of That Enchantment) and Su Questo Silenzio…Balla (On This Silence … Dance). But the nuances and measure are broader than may first appear.

Concrete Diorama – G.B.T.H Project

The couples in their troughs beneath a transparent floor, for example, perhaps carry with them the idea of loss through death, and a desire never to be parted. Meanwhile, the figures prostrated around the tree under their fine netting, appear to be in a different kind of mourning. Are they perhaps a reference to the way we humans can be indifferent to the plight of nature at our hands – at least until it is too late, as signified by the denuded and barren tree sitting at the centre of their circle and the apparent focus of their grief? And what of the large women beside their broken moons? Are they attempting to hide their heads in shame, the result of seeing the slender figures before them, and the  knowledge that society encourages us to embrace the slim as figures of beauty and reject the over-sized?

I’ve long appreciated and enjoyed Mistero’s sculptures, but this is perhaps the first time I’ve seen them brought together in a way that suggests a layered, nuanced narrative; one that resides not only in the individual pieces or in the way some have been brought together to form a diorama, but also right throughout the different levels and chambers within the installation as a whole. It’s an approach that, despite some of the darker tones (literal and metaphorical) apparent in the exhibit, is both effective and captivating.

Concrete Diorama – G.B.T.H Project

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