The installation You Can’t Un-See brings to life a deeply psychological painting by the artist PAZ. It uses very bright colors and dramatic poses to create deep emotions and an archetypal experience. PAZ has sculpted the images in this painting and turned it onto a dreamlike space, an interactive sculpture, light and sound installation. The two larger than life blue and orange figurative sculptures are truly otherworldly. The tallest of the sculptures is 14 ft tall and visitors can walk through it. This project is a depiction of the “Road of Life,” which is represented as an actual road. The drama of interpersonal relationships is played out by the figures on the road. It shows the most extreme emotions that people experience in life both in its colors and the figure’s gestures.
In the painting that this space is based on, you can see a curved road and a few characters: “The Protagonist” is the character standing on the road making a gesture of confusion and questioning. His proportions are somewhat ambiguous so that the observer is not sure if he is a boy or a man. “The Mother” from whom “The Road of Life” emerges is a symbol of birth, and the origin of the universe; her birth canal is a mouth with bared teeth representing the fear of the return to the womb. There are also the figures of “Death” and “The Warning” in the shape of a skull and a stop sign that are at the end of the road, or is it the beginning? It is impossible to tell where it ends or begins because the road is circular.
In the painting, you can only see these characters and half of the road. In the installation, people can walk though the entire circular path of the “Road of Life.” The installation participants enter from a dark tunnel. Arrows on the floor will point in two directions. Those who go to the right will emerge to see the image the way it is depicted in the painting. They will see the stop sign warning them of danger ahead and the skull reminding them that death is always the ultimate end. Then they will see the characters and their interaction. In that direction it can be a symbol of a romantic relationship, with the man walking towards the much larger, more important, woman. Those who walk to the left will experience something totally different: a symbolic “birth” as they emerge from “The Mother.” In this direction the characters symbolize mother and child. Since the artists is also transgender, it also has intimations of that experience with the more mechanical male coming out of the more natural or organic looking female. The dark half of the road inside the tunnel represents the mystery; we don’t know what happens before birth or after death, when we are inside our mothers or inside mother earth. Are they connected? Nobody knows. This draws from many mystical traditions that emphasize the circularity of time and being.
As visitors walk though, music will be playing by the artist Dievolve. Also sound triggers around the space will create different sound effects as people walk by them. People will change the sound design by walking through it. The sculptures will be lit form inside with very low light around. The segment outside of the tunnel will be filled with shimmering starlight. The effect of the glowing sculptures and hypnotic and sparse music will create a trance like feeling in the participants. The installation is meant to be a sacred space where people can meditate on the meaning of life as a connected cycle.
The installation is coming to 4 venues in Los Angeles this year:
August 5-September 29
The Hive Gallery and Studios
729 S Spring St, Los Angeles, California 90014
September 30 8pm-11pm
SCI-Arc Architecture School
960 E 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90013
Old Bank Movie Location
5601 N Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90042
October 31- December 15
Highways Performance Space/Gallery
1651 18th St, Santa Monica, CA 90404