The Spoils of Transparency

General Public, Berlin, Germany, 2013



General Public is thrilled to present a new installation by Mira O'Brien, "The Spoils of Transparency."

The title, "The Spoils of Transparency," is a play on the phrase 'the spoils of war', referring to the loot stolen after a battle, precious objects extracted from an act of violence.

Every object in existence has begun its gradual process of fragmentation, perceptible or not. O'Brien's work reminds us that the objects we encounter are less solid than they seem, and the barriers that we erect between interior and exterior might not be impenetrable.

Glass is a material prized for its transparency, its capacity to yield to the view beyond: Window as placeholder, viewfinder, framed. But when this feature of passivity is lost, transparency spoiled, there is something decadent about this obsolete material. Like looted debris extracted from a Modernist gridded-window fa├žade, it glitters and crackles.

This devolving installation engages in a process of self-destruction as it collapses under its own weight. Laminated glass panels have been folded up and pushed against the wall, changing shape with the effect of gravity. As one stands before the formation, one can hear the crackling sound of the glass moving, although this movement is barely visible. A violent cracking and crunching can be heard in the foyer of the gallery, as the recorded sound of the folding of the glass panels plays.