Vikky Alexander: Vaux-le-Vicomte-Panorama

20 Apr 2000 - 30 Jul 2000

The National Gallery of Canada is pleased to present Vikky Alexander: Vaux-le-Vicomte Panorama, an installation of laser-disc projection and mirror columns created in 1998, on view at the Gallery from 20 April to 3 July 2000. Multi-media Canadian artist Vikky Alexander is concerned with what we accept and enjoy as beautiful, our easy consumption of images and our escapism into representation. She questions notions of display and decoration grounded in a culture conditioned by media hype, advertising, the movies. In this installation, lush scenes of the formal gardens designed by André Le Nôtre at Vaux-le-Vicomte in France are projected very large. The projection is reflected off mirror-faced columns that fragment and multiply the images so that the room resembles the profusion and illusion of a modern shopping mall. The gardens represent a pinnacle of high baroque aesthetics. Their perfectly symmetrical and intricate patterns represent absolute control over the unpredictability of nature and, with that, suggest the absolute power inherent in the monarchic state. The images might cause us to momentarily forget the human misery that allowed such glories to flourish. Beauty and aesthetics, however, do not exist apart from political realities, then or now. Vikky Alexander's illusionistic environment calls attention to the pictorial image's power to seduce and delude.