As you step into the Heron Mall, immediately you are in a work by Heimo Zobernig. This antechamber to the main gallery spaces, usually clad with the typical Cornish exterior finish of pebble-dash and dominated by the large stained-glass window by Patrick Heron, has been lined with Zobernig’s signature Trevira Television TS chroma-key blue material. It is an architectural intervention which immediately transforms the space into a sensational experience of intense colour and light.
This act introduces the multiple ways in which Zobernig embeds his work within the context of an art institution, whilst blurring the boundaries between the various media we might expect to see within in it. This fabric is used commercially for ‘blue-box’ special effects in film and television production, where the neutral colour can be superimposed with a backdrop of different footage or digital imagery.
Here, appropriated as a raw material, it playfully transports us from the real experience of the space, creating a site to contemplate how painting, sculpture, architecture, video and notably the audience may converge within dialogues around modern and contemporary art.
It is interesting to note how Zobernig, in making his work, often uses standardised everyday materials to reference ideas in art history. In this sense, the industrially fabricated chroma-key material may allude to the post-World War Two monochrome canvases of French artist Yves Klein, who famously patented a particular blue he used in his painting and sculpture. Klein’s preoccupation with the notion of the ‘void’ – a zone where the viewer may directly engage with an artwork outside of the everyday world– is again relevant here. As mentioned, Zobernig recalls that his material is conventionally used as a ‘technological’ void on which to overlay other televisual imagery.