Blue and Hanging

Shawn Patrick Landis' "Suspension of Belief" at Grey Gallery.

Imagine a dissected view of a flooded room with the water contained as a transparent solid, and you come close to Shawn Patrick Landis' current installation. "Suspension of Belief" is the artist's largest and riskiest inflated project to date, occupying the entire gallery space, within the wood framework of what could be any condo in process. Two-by-fours support an 8-foot-high vinyl cube, which in turn supports a floating four-poster bed, bureau, and desk, all in heavy dark wood. An old-fashioned hope chest and a globe also hang atop the clear box of compressed air. The objects are wrapped in blue plastic below the water line, which is created by the swelling curve of the air-filled vinyl bubble. When I visited, I wasn't the only one who expressed a desire to walk under water. "That would be a way to resolve the piece, which you can't do from outside," says Landis. Amazingly enough, this room (reminiscent of Landis' previous exhibit at Gallery4Culture as well as Alex Schweder's inflating and deflating "A Sac of Rooms Three Rooms a Day" at Suyama Space in early 2007—not to mention recent floods in-state and around the globe) is not quite airtight. Enough air pressure is maintained to keep the furniture afloat and withstand leakage from the holes created in sewing the plastic cube together. The room sustained a tear during installment, but managed to stay aloft despite this break in integrity. According to gallery owner Erik Guttridge, the visible tear made close observers of the piece very nervous. The breach was repaired just before I arrived, when the "poke magnet" was being given its daily dusting and fingerprint removal. Still, if you place a palm above a line of stitching, you'll detect a small breath through the pinprick holes. 

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