Last weekend, Adverb and I headed to Knoxville, TN, for an early Thanksgiving with his family. While there, we paid a visit to the Knoxville Musuem of Art (valuable tip: the museum offers free admission on Sundays).
The current exhibition at the KMA is Threads Of Perception by artist Devorah Sperber. She has scanned famous works of art, converted them into low-resolution versions and then found spools of thread to correspond to the color of each pixel. The results are then suspended from the lengths of chain, with the overall image inverted, like this:
(Image courtesy of Knoxville Museum of Art web site)
The KMA web site explains the presentation this way: "The thread spools works are hung upside down in reference to the fact that the lens of the eye projects an inverted image of the world onto the retina, which is corrected by the brain. A clear acrylic sphere, positioned in front of each work, functions like the human eye and brain, not only inverting but also focusing the image so that it appears as a sharp, faithful, right-side-up reproduction of the famous painting."
This exhibition was so fascinating to me. What was most interesting was that even from across the room, even though these masterpieces had been greatly simplified, produced in an entirely different medium, and turned upside-down, you could still recognize them immediately. It made me think a lot about how little information our minds and eyes actually need in order to understand an image, and about how some images are so prevalent that they are basically branded onto our brains.
Props to the KAM--for a smaller museum, they do quite a good job of bringing thought-provoking exhibitions to their patrons. Threads of Perception runs through January 24, 2010.