bureau inc

Sarah Dornner
Primavesi House
June 24 - July 28 2012
with a reception for the artist on Sunday June 24, 6 - 8 p.m.

Bureau is pleased to announce a summer exhibition featuring new work by artist Sarah Dornner. Primavesi House comprises an eponymous video and installation at Bureau's lower east side gallery at 127 Henry Street in New York.

An odyssey of pattern and rhythm, the video Primavesi House begins with a still image of Viennese modernist Josef Hoffmann's 1913-14 country house built for his patron Otto Primavesi. This, one of the last remaining photos of this house which was destroyed by a fire in 1922, shows an empty foyer and its component objects (lamp, mirror, bureau), all of which are covered in a repeating black and white pattern, the mauerblümchen or wallflower, designed by Lotte Frömmel-Fochler of the Wiener Werkstätte. As the sound of footsteps rises, the camera begins to pan, zooming into the wall until the pattern fills the frame. Gradually, we are immersed in a wide expanse of the mauerblümchen, meticulously redrawn digitally by Dornner. The pattern begins to shift and move, and we are taken into a pulsing, mutating dance of the black and white motif.

An utterly euphoric animation by Dornner, the video takes us on an exuberant romp into design and form. Using post-twentieth century tools of motion graphics the artist offers a new potential for the density of pattern and expressionism that were essential to Hoffmann's early 20th-century gesamtkunstwerk. The viewer imagines herself visiting the Primavesi family's country home, robed in a garment patterned with the room's motif (following the custom prescribed by Hoffmann), and miraculously delving into a hyper-real, hallucinatory experience. Set to an instrumental tune of Ryan Paris's, La Dolce Vita, this hard-edge vibration of busy pattern is transported to the early 1980s, where the italo-disco soundtrack speaks to another kind of liberation and joy.

This uninhibited and restless dynamism easily shifts to a consideration of hysteria and mania. Considering modern Vienna as the backdrop to the dawn of psychoanalysis, the context of this décor is inseparable with the historical cases of hysteria. This highly decorated room becomes emblematic of the domestic space, thus the woman's space: the domain of hysteria primed for a psychotic experience. Dornner cites the influence of Charlotte Perkins Gilman's story, The Yellow Wallpaper, about a woman's decent into psychosis, hallucinating within a wallpaper pattern. Dornner's playfully buoyant video reinforces the flexibility of perception and the destabilization of the self within reality.

Sarah Dornner was born in 1979 in Valencia, CA. She studied at the University of California, Los Angeles and later received an MFA in Sculpture at the Yale University School of Art in New Haven, CT. Her work has been shown at Casey Kaplan Gallery (solo), the Albright Knox Gallery, Rachel Uffner Gallery, Thierry-Goldberg Gallery, and at IFF Gallery in Marseille, France.