Presence, visibility and static permanence are qualities often attributed to painting.
In the installation Mystic, seventeen foot tall paintings remain invisible during the daytime, as they are painted in trompe l'oeil fashion to mimic the stained-glass windows in the aspe of the Dominkanerkerk, a 12th century gothic cathedral in Maastricht, the Netherlands. The paintings, which were placed into niches that most likely once housed an alterpiece, functioned during the day as extensions of the windows. It is only with a change in conditions (the setting of the sun, the darkening of the stained glass windows, and indoor illumination) that the paintings slowly become visible as paintings. The change in perception of these objects (as visible or invisible, as painting or architecture) is context and time-based. These temporal changes are heightened by the horizontal placement of three thousand pieces of mirror on the floor of the apse. Cut and arranged to mimic the geometric pattern of the stained-glass windows, the arrangement creates another sort of window or opening, both horizontally and vertically. The mirrors extend the predominantly upward thrust of the nave (towards the heavens and a single male deity), in equal measure downwards, so that the viewer is as if suspended in midair. It is as though the floor has dropped to suggest an infinite space.
Additional movement and disorientation is created as the multiple mirrors fragment and set into motion reflections of the space (the paintings, windows and stone architecture in question); these reflections shift and jump as one moves around the swath of mirrors. The space of the mirrors and of the floor exist as if in contradiction, but also in the same plane.
Constructed as a kind of inverse of Monet's famous Rouen Cathedral series of the 1890's, the installation uses optics and context to consider how perception can be influenced in service of religious doctrine, gender roles, and power dynamics. It also reveals the fluidity and contradictions inherent in these strategies.