Is a home a place of warmth and comfort, a place of protection, or is it a prison, a place to be trapped in? Israeli artist Michal Cole (b 1974) and Turkish artist Ekin Onat (b 1976) have taken over the historical villa of Casetta Rosa, with its warm red walls and views out across the Grand Canal, for “Objection”, supported by the University of the Arts London and the latest pop-up exhibition under the banner of The Pavilion of Humanity, which is an artistic response to today’s political threats, immigration, curtailment of liberty, and eroding of borders (physical and mental) in contemporary society.
The cosy domestic interiors of this Venetian villa have been turned into a place of different meanings where things are not what they seem as the artists explore different aspects of life today. 25,000 ties, once the symbol of male domination have been used by Michal Cole to create a space which might be a protective cave or a padded cell; which is it? The bathroom has a view of a woman attempting to mop up the vast expanse of the sea, pots and pans and cups in the small kitchen have a trapped woman screaming up at the visitor peering down, while upstairs voices can be heard behind locked doors, speaking two different languages, a recipe for conflict and confusion, and the black/grey dining room turns what should be the warm and welcoming heart of the home into something sinister and threatening as Ekin Onat reflects on loss of freedoms in her homeland. What you don’t realise at first glance is that the furniture is made from military armour, reflecting on how armour dehumanises the wearer, giving them status and mentally protecting them against the horrors of war, yet here, these items are also being recycled into something useful, everyday and comforting in the domestic environment.
All is not what it seems…..