Frame features serpentine project

A room-sized, serpentine plastic structure is not what many visitors expect to find at a gallery exhibition, but viewers warmly greeted this artistic curiosity at the opening reception for the In(Klein) exhibition at the Frame Gallery last Friday. Created by fourth-year architecture majors Michael Jeffers, Anna Rosenblum, Liam Lowe, and Joe Colarusso, In(Klein) presents a perplexing and captivating challenge to viewers’ perceptions of the space around them.

The exhibition consists of a single piece that spans the entire room, made from dozens of triangular plastic cutouts, each about the length of a person’s forearm. Together, the plastic cutouts resemble large, transparent scales. The effect is, indeed, a bit serpentine; the structure undulates and twists upon itself as it stretches across the room in the shape of an elaborate, three-dimensional figure eight.

Rosenblum explained that the inspiration for the structure’s intriguing shape originally came to the artists when designing an elementary school with a winding structure wrapped around the building. The artists submitted their proposal and ultimately won the Frame Gallery Grant, which offers $300 to an individual or group of students that can create a site-specific work that alters perceptions of space.

The scale is perhaps the most impressive aspect of the piece. Although the gallery itself is no bigger than about twice the size of an average dorm room, the structure takes up the entire space, suspended from the ceiling by no more than a few strings at various junctures. Assembling the structure was no easy task, according to Colarusso. He and his three colleagues built most of the piece on site over the course of one night.

Despite the scale of the piece, however, the paradox is that the structure does not take up much space at all. Visitors to the gallery ducked under the winding plastic and stood inside it, admiring the piece from various angles or casually socializing. According to Jeffers, this paradox is one of the driving ideas behind the project. “We knew we wanted something that was ambiguous,” he said, “something that had logic to it but seemed irrational.”

If ambiguity was the artists’ goal, then they certainly achieved it. The shape of the piece, paired with the grandness of its scale, made for an unconventional object that was open to interpretation. Third-year architecture major Claire He described the structure as “futuristic” and, despite its already impressive size, saw even greater potential for the piece. “It feels like a prototype for something bigger,” she said.

Though an unexpected use of the gallery space, In(Klein) does not fail to impress. Not only is it aesthetically captivating, but it also poses a challenge to the ways in which people experience their physical environment. In(Klein) is a compelling and refreshing departure from the traditional art exhibit and conventional perceptions of space.