Homescape at Manitoga, The Russel Wright Design Center in Garrison, NY
Homescape at the exhibition Hills and Valleys of the Sofa Wilderness at Wave Hill, NY
2014, soil, living moss, grass, ferns, and stones, aluminum, wheels, insulation material
29 1/2″ x 64″ x 32″ and 29 1/2 x 32″ x 32″
The sculptural installation HOMESCAPE by artists Kristyna and Marek Milde forms an outside lounge environment in Manitoga, Russel Wright Design Center in Garisson, NY. Originally commissioned by Wave Hill for a 2014 solo exhibition Hills and Valleys of the Sofa Wilderness, this site-specific project, inspired by Manitoga, investigates the cultural forms found in interior design as they relate to the natural environment and landscape topography. HOMESCAPE examines the isolating effects of sedentary interior culture – addressing its sensory and environmental deprivation. While the installation reframes the activity of sitting, it also aims to provoke environmental awareness through interactive spatial experience. HOMESCAPE is part of a larger body of the Mildes’ work linking domesticity and nature by employing the activity of sitting as a means to experience broader social and environmental issues. It examines the effects of architecture, design and interior space on our perception and relationship to the outside world, revisiting the role of furnishing and decorating.
Resembling a sofa and a chair, the piece invites visitors to sit down, to rest and to relax. The “upholstery,” however, is made with soil, living plants, ferns and moss taken from Manitoga’s grounds and transplanted into the metal frames. The landscape takes the form of furniture, which visitors to the site are encouraged to use. While serving as a place to sit, the installation allows participants to experience the sensuality of natural materials and textures as well as to explore the idea of connecting domestic comforts to landscape and nature.
HOMESCAPE is intended to be installed in both indoor and outdoor environments. Perception of the piece evolves and changes as it shifts between the contexts of interiors and exteriors. When installed outside, the piece evokes the notion of domesticating a site, blending rather seamlessly with the surrounding landscape. When installed within a building interior, as at Wave Hill, the work evokes a contrast to the white cube environment and triggers a moment of awareness of nature.
The artists point to Russel Wright’s own strategies in connecting the architecture, interior design, and daily living at Manitoga to the natural surroundings: “Experiencing Manitoga was very inspiring to us. Russel Wright’s integrative approach to nature and his sensitivity to the site is transformative, proving that modern life and nature may connect with integrity.”
The installation opens questions of how architecture and postindustrial reality influences the way of understanding Nature. It engages the dilemma between nature and architectural structures and its influence on the current environmental issues. It follows a phenomenon of a new special kind of species: “Homo Interius” a contemporary human, who spends most of its life inside of a white cube separated from the influence of the surrounding environment. Homescape aims to question this prevalent culture of sitting, which is dictating and limiting our basic spatial experience thru the comfortable cushioning resulting in a sensual deprivation, effecting the environmental perception in large.
Thanks to Wave Hill and MANITOGA /The Russel Wright Design Center for their support of Hills and Valleys of the Sofa Wilderness.
Solo exhibition by Kristyna and Marek Milde
May 23 – July 6, 2014
curated by Gabriel de Guzman
The installation Homescape is on a long-term view at the Manitoga, The Russel Wright Design Center in Garrison, NY, since July 2014. We highly recommend visiting, as the site is a natural and architectural gem and allows for hiking as well. The close proximity to NYC makes Manitoga ideal for a half-day trip. The lounge is located close to the Russel Wright’s house, which you can visit on a tour.
For direction and tour reservation check the Manitoga website.