April 6, 2004 - Saint Louis Art Museum - Francis Cape
April 6, 2004

Francis Cape

Francis Cape
02 April – 13 June 2004.

Saint Louis Art Museum
1 Fine Arts Drive
Forest Park
St. Louis, MO 63110


Image: Francis Cape, Forest Park
(rendering for installation), 2004

Forest Park, 2004, a site-specific installation by Francis Cape, premieres at the Saint Louis Art Museum in April. The work comprises three free-standing architectural elements and a framed drawing. Cape’s first step in researching the installation was to take detailed measurements of the gallery. He worked these dimensions through a Fibonacci sequence to determine golden rectangles, which are repeated throughout the installation. Because the gallery’s measurements were used to generate proportions within the work, the installation reflects the dimensions of the gallery. Cape inserted a contrasting proposition into the environment that up to this point relied on rectangles: a perfectly symmetrical cube-shaped gallery, which he suggests by aligning the architectural elements along the perimeter of a square. The imaginary, or “notional room,” is implied by the orientation of the elements, but Cape’s transformation of the gallery into a cube is far from complete. The gaps between the elements and the walls, as well as the gaps between the elements themselves, demonstrate an inability to achieve an ideal environment. Cape evokes a sense of rational, pleasing proportions only to contradict them.

Architecture functions as both metaphor and tool in Cape’s work; indeed, the success of his installations depends upon his ability to manipulate the viewer’s expectations and desires with regard to interior spaces. Although carpentry plays an important role in the work, Cape cautions against confusing his art with architecture. “I’m building sculpture, not a house,” Cape explains. “Asking the work to comply with building codes is like posting a lifeguard next to Monet’s Water Lilies.”
Currents 91: Francis Cape is part of a series of exhibitions featuring the work of contemporary artists at the Saint Louis Art Museum. The series is supported by the Henry L. and Natalie E. Freund Endowment Fund, which supports the exhibition and acquisition of contemporary art at the Art Museum and the teaching principles of contemporary art at the School of Fine Arts, Washington University. This exhibition was curated by Robin Clark, associate curator of contemporary art, and is on view April 2 through June 13.

Corporate sponsorship of this exhibition is provided by AT&T.

Saint Louis Art Museum
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