David Hoffos at MoCCA
September 25, 2010 § Leave a comment
‘A personal examination of the human psyche’ is a clichéd phrase to be attached to any work in a contemporary show nowadays, and this is the unfortunate introduction that is given to the recently opened show at MOCCA. The work of Montreal-born video installation artist David Hoffos is described as an exploration of ‘the uncanny and its relationship to the everyday; he creates narratives that transcend time and place.’ This is all well and good, however such a banal prelude really does seem to undermine the immense quality and originality of Hoffos’ exhibit, Scenes from the House Dream, where his fusion of low-tech paraphernalia and visual-audio media allows visitors to experience what feels like a literal invitation into the world of the artist.
By taking this invitation through the light-absorbing drapes of the exhibition entrance, the visitor enters into a blacked out space filled with a hindering conglomeration of obscure objects, shimmering images, and discordant sounds. This initial disorientation is a curatorial technique that reflects Hoffos’ ongoing exploration of the uncanny and the surreal nature of his supposed dream world. Moreover, the sense of unperceived animation lying beyond the initial darkness of the space is an intelligent interpretation of the sleeping mind and its far from dormant mental activity.
On moving forward we begin to encounter Hoffos’ isolated miniature scenes: individual glass-fronted dioramas containing holographic figures that repetitively move about as if on loop. From the lonely looking man who wonders and ponders by a seaside cliff, to the woman who paces and sips a drink in her hotel room, Hoffos’ animated figurines appear stuck in the limbo of this constructed dream world. It is not only the eerie character of these irresolute worlds that engages here, but as figures who are comparably so large, we, as the visiting voyeur, experience a sort of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ effect whereby Hoffos challenges the limits of space and time within the private recesses of the sleeping mind.
Scenes from the House Dream is not only marked by the originality and highly engaging pieces that are on display, but the creative curation stands out in equal measure and asks the visitor to partake in more than just a passive observation of these far from shallow works.