Once There Was A House
by Katha Seidman and Lauire Kaplowitz
Once There Was a House is an installation that tells the story of chaos and disruption unleashed upon a home’s human and spirit inhabitants in the wake of a seismic event. Through the lens of the famed Villa of the Mysteries, a first-century Roman house, destroyed by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in Pompeii in 79 A.D. this installation envisions what materializes when a home collapses in a catastrophe.
Seidman and Kaplowitz have created an exciting and dynamic pictorial narrative in three-dimensional space. They achieve this through the use of painted murals and totemic sculptures. White-faced figures, frozen in the ash of the collapse, stare out from domestic doorways and windows. Spectral figures, numinous in their elegance, come alive in fresh drapery and ornaments. Through collaboration Kaplowitz and Seidman have skillfully integrated their their distinctive artistic signatures to produce a rich and unified work.
Our contemporary world is full of threats, realistic and perceived, natural and manmade. Once There was a House reimagines the sudden collapse of normal daily routine, and in doing so taps everyday fears that we harbor in our own lives. Anxiety for a future disconnected abruptly from the present is rendered palpable.