Man has exerted his dominion over the earth, carving out roads, digging, shaping, and reinventing paradise in his own image. Too often the interception is abrasive and the earth suffers from the manipulations. Not so with Christian Bernard Singer's thoughtful relationship with nature. As he creates his installations in the natural settings of forest and meadow, under his hand the perfection of nature is further realised as the spotlight of his sensitivity plays up the contours and colors as if he is dressing mother earth in raiments fair in order to show off her graceful figure to full advantage.
A little patch of earth at its best—lush, green, soft, light, pliable, transportable, easily sustainable, beautiful—moss. Floating paper pieces hover like angels or spirits that have gotten away from sweet bodies. Mysteriously suspended like dry leaves momentarily arrested in dreamy falls, they appear to be in the process of a return to mother earth in order to continue to exist in the preordained harmony that is endemic to nature. They are still, hanging in the silence between being and becoming. They are talking in whispers, communicating messages so gentle yet they are heard visually, seen audibly, tasted through the fingers, and smelled through the eyes. The world of Christian Bernard Singer is overwhelmingly poetic. It provokes swoons.
The crisp definition of architectonic space is broken by a visual mirage, a displacement of the unfamiliar upon the objective reality of walls, floors, ceilings and segues between them—the stairs, passageways, corners and portals. The gallery is changed from the expected into the inspired. It is a form of culture shock, an objectification of sensibilities so that the subjective overtakes reasoning and the sensation becomes the prime means of understanding. Singer's installations are like other countries, foreign lands. Things are not as they have been. There are unaccustomed translations of ordinary juxtapositions. It is a 'trippy' feeling much akin to travelling. The installation brings about heightened awareness of place. It is delightful, not jarring, a pleasant surprise akin to eco-tourism.
In Thailand, the Bahamas, Hawaii, and other such exotic places, the outside flows into the inside. A shower can be taken surrounded by flowers, for instance, or food and drink eaten beside mossy embankments. The transition between the dwelling and the environment, the interior and the exterior is easily made. The weather is warm. There is no need to box in. Christian Bernard Singer helps us out in our Northern clime and forces the issue by bringing the mossy side into the gallery. After a long winter, the relief of the intrusion is as rich as verdi-gris on copper and as refreshing as a walk up a magic viridian staircase in a midsummer night's dream.
Copyright © 2008, Julie Oakes