From Stella Rosa McDonald…
As a teenager, Roger Ulrich PhD had kidney disease. He spent long hours in bed feeling ill and looking out his window at a large Pine tree. Ulrich recovered, and thanks to that Pine tree he went on to propose the theory of ‘positive distraction’ in the design of hospitals and waiting rooms, becoming the preeminent researcher of healthcare architecture in the world. Waiting rooms and hospitals are places where we wait in limbo between questions and answers, hopes and fears, itches and salves. They are rarely places we want to linger.
In Comfort Zone first time collaborators Alex Kiers and Claire Finneran liberate the waiting room from its place in purgatory and turn it into a destination in itself. The artist’s riff on Ulrich’s theories, as well as speculative new age spiritual practices to create the utopian waiting room of the future, replete with a bubbling water feature, banana lounges, satin hand towels and inoffensive, non-denominational sculptures. With titles such as Trancequility and Acrylic Abstract Study Painting 1 and with the artist’s capitalized names printed onto the satin ‘hand towels’, the installations, ceramics and digital prints in Comfort Zone extend a kind of comic cynicism to the ease with which ordinary men become gurus. The video ASMRnR, in which a woman reverentially cleans her iPad and unwraps a sparkling iPhone case in order to slowly scratch its back, foregrounds the exhibition as a precise commentary on the contemporary fetishisation of accessories and design.
Until July 18
Pic: Claire Finneran and Alex Kiers, Comfort Zone, 2014. Found image photo collage. Courtesy of the artists and Firstdraft Gallery.