Chandelier: Hair Filament
2010 by Dari Bae
Wimbledon College of Art MA Show; http://www.daribae.com
Among Wimbledon’s curious cavern of MA sculptures hangs a glittering chandelier, large and imposing towering from above. The glassy translucence, our ability to see through this structure, provides a welcome variant to the solidarity of the rest of the sculpture. This, together with its advantage of height, gives this piece a dramatic presence, carried by the chandeliers connotations of the grandiose decorations of the past. However, on closer inspection this work possesses a darker element. It is made up of glass viles, each containing a single lock of hair. This delicate material, deliberately and obviously real, curls finely in its glassy prison, light dancing through the many layers behind it. The effect is eerie and slightly chilling: pieces of people cut and bottled, then hung to decoratively circle one another. The hair varies in colour – blondes, reds, blacks and browns – a warm and natural colour range that represents an array of heads and faces. The feeling of having people contained, controlled, is poignant here; one knows that each of these locks has been purposefully put behind glass. The voyeuristic displaying element of this work contributes to a feeling of slight unease; it is the power of unexpected realisation at recognising what lies behind these lights.