14 Mar – 12 Apr 2009

Distinguished by the Swans

Erin Dunn

In the world of Erin Dunn, everything is visible simultaneously, from building block to image and all the stages in between.

Previous 1 /  Next

In a mesmeric riot of colour and detail, her work unfolds before your eyes. Using pastels and oil paint, airbrush techniques and holographic stickers, feathers and flowers, burning candles and impossibly dark crimson strawberries, fresh and wilted parrot tulips and a Dutch windmill fashioned from coloured pipe cleaners, Dunn conjures up a cosmos that is Romantic in the true sense of the word. With their singular use of colour and penchant for ornamental choreography, Echoes of Philip Otto Runge and Matthew Barney are as close as ‘The Mole’ (Czech children’s cartoon) and the first Disney films such as Fantasia and Bambi.

The early interest in natural sciences that characterized the original German Romantics also surfaces in Dunn’s work. DNA double helixes add a festoon of red and white to the picture plane. An owl formed from a loose cloud of feathers imitates a school of glimmering fish that meld into a single wash of movement. A tiny butterfly’s wing movements are so mimicked with such precision you feel you’re watching a natural history film. In Dunn’s work, the popular cliché that applauds the analogy between atom systems and galaxies is the subject of highly personal research. That each of the elements exhibits a dynamic of its own, on its own scale, lends her work an enormous richness.

Dunn's solo exhibition in W139 presents a selection of her drawings and films produced over the last five years. The backdrops and figures used in the animations will also be on display. A new, short film will be filmed on location during the exhibition. It will be a stop-motion ballet animation based on photos of young dancers against scenery built especially for the film in W139 and which will be screened during Distinguished by the Swans.

Gijs Frieling