Entering Alaska Projects’ car park locale can be eerie enough. Further entering the art space for Alex Gawronski’s new installation, things start to get creepy. The windows are boarded and there is little light inside the gallery that is at least a third smaller than its already diminutive stature.
With a history of addressing the dimensions and mechanics of the gallery, physically and culturally, Gawronksi reassesses Alaska’s positioning. Considering the ceiling contours of the now unrecognisable gallery, the artist follows this line into a seamless and very convincing new wall punctuated with a small door. One could believe they’d exited the car park stairwell on the wrong floor and entered a stranger’s basement. There is a persistent banging on this door as it moves slightly to and fro on its hinges as if some living thing is trying to get out. It’s a horrifying and absurd scenario playing with our memories of PG rated horror and the hyperbole of fundamentally clichéd cartoon motifs. The sense of theatre is thick and the lighting dramatic, even with such comic execution it is scary enough.
The convincing nature of the work soon unravels as we begin to recognise the Alaska space. Soon we discover the wooden door is really wood grain patterned contact (like the one you once covered your school books in) on plywood while we are drawn to notice parts of the gallery we might usually miss – in particular the yellow line painted on the floor to demarcate the parking spaces before the walls were built around it to make the room we are now in. Is this the line Gawronski is speaking of in the title of the piece, daring us to cross to The Other Side?
Alex Gawronski’s The Other Side shows at Alaska Projects from October 10 to October 28, 2012.