‘Unfolded’ explores the role that visual perception plays in our experience of reality by revealing the interplay between flatness and physical space. We all experience this tension; notably, it can be found between reality as it is found in our screen-based devices, and as it exists in our phenomenological experience of the body. The installation investigates this relationship using the canvas of BAF’s Garage. Importantly, viewers can engage with this work only from a set position; they are unable to enter the space or interact with it physically.
‘Unfolded’ paints the interior of the Garage with vertical, horizontal and diagonal lines of variable colour, weight, and texture. Each mark is then extended into three-dimensional space using a material chosen to correspond to the nature of each line – painted wood for a heavy, sharp-edged line, or pink wool for a soft, fuzzy mark of the same colour.
While within the Garage, the distinction between between image and object, flatness and dimensionality is softened, the viewer experiences this space from outside – behind a window, or screen. While the depth and physicality of the installation is apparent, the viewer interprets it almost as they would an image. However, the possibility of flatness is subverted by the presence of three mirrors within the space, positioned so that the viewer can glimpse themselves. Although they cannot access the interior, through the act of looking, they are placed within it.
The environment created by ‘Unfolded’ is a reflexive space, where modes of experience exist in careful balance. Through playful tension of colour, depth and material, Burke turns the viewer’s focus onto their own perception.