Mathew Buckingham, The Spirit and the Letter, 2007
A total installation
The installation The Spirit and the Letter consists of a room with a projection on one wall and a mirror hanging on the opposite one. In the middle of the floor is a large chandelier turned upside down, as if it is “hanging” up from the floor. The projection shows a large high-ceilinged room with panels on the walls and a chandelier identical to the physical one.
Re-enactment and documentary
The sound track is the historical person Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-97), who speaks of the inequality between women and men. We hear snatches of her treatise, but the Buckingham has altered the text. In this way the text relates to the present time – a form of re-enactment, as the artist intervenes in the original version. At the same time, the work documents the historical person and central areas of her authorship.
The Spirit and the Letter belongs both to the categories re-enactment and docufication.
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