douglas KORNFELD

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Pathways to Damnation and Redemption - Over 10,000 laser printed imaged stapled to the gallery walls

On the front wall of the installation was an image 14 feet high and 26 feet across. It was laser printed on ordinary paper. Each of the more than 800 pages was stapled directly to the wall. The original image, entitled the "Entrance to Hell," was taken from a 12th century Psalter. It was extensively altered using computer software. On the ground were hundreds of figures; these appeared to spill out of the walls behind, and march across the floor into the mouth of the monster.

As part of this exhibition the artist gave lectures and demonstrations about the project and its creation to over 1000 elementary students.

The left wall depicts mazes. The original design was taken from the floor of a medieval cathedral in France. It original purpose was to serve as a substitute for a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, its circuitous path, a metaphor for the long journey to Jerusalem and to spiritual enlightenment. The standard male icon was placed into the center of the maze on the right, the girl icon in the center of the one on the left. In the "steps" leading to each center were many variations of these symbols. This wall symbolized diversity and served as a "pathway to redemption". Around the mazes were rows of more than 3000 individual slips of paper stapled to the wall, each, depicted a standard male or female icon.

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"Pathways to Damnation and Redemption" - 1997 - Fuller Art Museum, Brockton, MA

The right wall depicted a diagram of a ship filled with hundreds of variations of male and female icons. The evil side of symbols, "the pathway to damnation", was symbolized by this wall and was inspired from a 19th century slave ship diagram. In the original diagram, the slaves were depicted with identical figures. In this work the figures were portrayed as different body types but, like the original, without other distinguishing features. Surrounding the boat were more than 3500 slips of paper, individually stapled to the wall. Each depicted the standard male or female icon in alternating rows. This became an "ocean of people." A breeze from the building air conditioning made the rows of paper appear to move like waves around the ship.

Link to related Exhibition at the DeCordova Museum in Lincoln, MA >>

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