Cristina de Gennaro
Memento (If These Walls Could Talk)
Gouache and archival ink jet prints on Japanese gampi paper, acrylic and latex paint, wood.
Dimensions variable. Installed in the Glyndor Gallery at Wave Hill, Bronx, NY.
Invited to develop an installation addressing the theme of "survival" in the Glyndor Gallery at Wave Hill, I focused on the history of the building and its environment to create a site-specific work emphasizing the importance of memory to our existence. My goal was to mark the history of the site, to make it visible to the viewer and, by doing so, to locate the viewer in the present moment as part of a dynamic continuum linking past and future.
After researching the history of the site as a private estate and, then, public garden from the mid 1800's to the present, I became interested in the Chinese wisteria vine that surrounds the building today - a plant that is over 100 years old and has survived three reconstructions. I painted life-size silhouettes of the wisteria vine directly into the gallery walls while also attaching gouache paintings on translucent gampi paper of wisteria seed pods.
I embedded texts into the walls, suggesting simultaneous frames for perceiving the history of the place: these referenced the personal, cultural, biological, and geological. I was interested in establishing a sense of time and history as being comprised of interwoven "events" as the texts, shifting in tones from light to dark grey, evoked a series of whispering "voices" emerging from the walls and encouraging viewers to make connections between the current environment and the historical narratives.
You may view Cristina de Gennaro's web site at www.cristinadegennaro.com