Fun used to be parties and concerts. But now, according to the Henry Art Gallery, it’s architecture.
In the Henry Art Gallery’s new exhibition “Fun. No Fun” interactive installation art takes hold of the lower level space with its maze of wooden stairs surrounded by a littering of colorful sculptures.
The Henry’s website describes the installation’s purpose as an investigation into “how space and memory mediate experience; just as desire and lived experience affects the spaces we build, imagine, and occupy.”
The exhibit was created by Seattle-based Kraft Duntz, an artist and architect team of David Lipe, Matt Sellars and Dan Webb, in collaboration with artist Dawn Cerny.
Vivid blues, greens and reds draw the eyes away from the impressive staircase structure toward each piece placed to draw attention to the large space of the room.
Yellow, free-standing gauzy curtains meet gallery-goers as they step off the wooden staircase, acting as an entryway into the rest of the exhibit.
Various chairs, such as a desk chair behind the curtains or a wooden rocking chair not too far off, sit around the room, and a silvery-gray sculpture reminiscent of a bookshelf one might find in an art-deco styled apartment stands just beyond the curtains.
Rugs of different sizes, shapes and colors create an intricate mosaic on the bare wooden floors, and small connected wire baskets hang from the ceiling like colorful mobiles in a nursery.
A wooden spiral staircase in the center of the next room leads into a space painted entirely white with natural light from the ceiling bouncing off the bare walls to flood the room.
At first glance, the installation appears to match the vibe of a small house with odd, mismatched furniture, but the spatial awareness and meditative thinking that the exhibit wants viewers to experience rings true to viewers after they spend a moment walking around.
The Henry Art Gallery site describes “Fun. No Fun” as “an installation composed of built forms and voids that together appear to offer options but no apparent resolution—much like the world we live in, where the opportunity for action appears endless, but is often thwarted by closed systems and networks.”
The site goes on to say, “‘Fun. No Fun’ reflects the inherent contradiction that exists between exhilaration, expectation, and disappointment in the experience of art and life.”
On Thursday, April 27, the Henry hosted a performance taken from a series of text messages and emails sent between the collaborators of “Fun. No Fun,” recounting eight months of developing and building the exhibit.
The intent of the performance was to describe the creative process involved in executing such an elaborate project, but also to illustrate the dynamics between each of the collaborators and the relationship between art and life—a subject that is deeply explored within the installation itself.
The actors involved in the performance include Seattle comedians Kevin Clark and Travis Vogt, and storytellers Kathleen Turrant and Douglas Gale.
“Fun. No Fun” is a true work of modern, interactive art—the exhibit requires viewers to think critically and meditate on their daily lives and the space they take up in the world.
It’s a poignant, thought-provoking piece that should not be missed.
“Fun. No Fun” runs until September 10.