Cheshire Cat, Echo and Dorian Grey
Gestalt for a museum (of modern art)
A visual essay

To view essay on Yumpu click:

Gestalt for a museum (of modern art)

This gestalt is based on the mix of characters in three ‘grand narratives’. Echo and Narcissus, Alice and The Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland and Dorian in The Picture of Dorian Gray. In all of these stories plays the concept of mirroring a central role. Narcissus in love with his own reflection. Echo can only echo. Alice falls through the mirror and meets the Cheshire Cat who replies in riddles, changes his shape or color and can partially or completely disappear. And finally, Dorian Gray, whose excesses and debaucheries leave behind physical traces on his painted portrait, but does not affect his real face.

Echo is in love with the Cheshire Cat. This in turn is in love with his own reflection. However, he did not realize that his reflection is not keeping pace with its own excesses. The face before the mirror turns into a “sacred monster”. The face in the mirror is always enjoyable. The cries he utters are out of admiration for repeats itself by Echo. The Cheshire Cat thinks the mirror back talking with a loving voice.

The contemporary museum is - simply put - mainly in conversation with ‘art’ in the form of what living artists produce and what is written about dead artists. The audience is witness to this dialogue between art and institute
and tries occasionally to throw a word in between. These words will be heard only if they are a reflection of this dialogue.

Cheshire Cat, Echo and Dorian Grey

The Cheshire Cat is a fictional cat appearing in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alice first encounters it at the Duchess’s house in her kitchen, and then later outside on the branches of a tree, where it appears and disappears at will, engaging Alice in amusing but sometimes vexing conversation. The cat sometimes raises philosophical points that annoy or baffle Alice. It does, however, appear to cheer her up when it turns up suddenly at the Queen of Hearts’ croquet field, and when sentenced to death baffles everyone by making its body disappear, but its head remain visible, sparking a massive argument between the executioner and the King and Queen of Hearts about whether something that does not have a body can indeed be beheaded.
At one point, the cat disappears gradually until nothing is left but its grin, prompting Alice to remark that she has often seen a cat without a grin but never a grin without a cat. It is this unusual disappearing act for which most people remember Cheshire Cat.

One day when Narcissus was out hunting stags, Echo stealthily followed the handsome youth through the woods, longing to address him but unable to speak first. When Narcissus finally heard footsteps and shouted “Who’s there?”, Echo answered “Who’s there?” And so it went, until finally Echo showed herself and rushed to embrace the lovely youth. He pulled away from the nymph and vainly told her to leave him alone. Narcissus left Echo heartbroken and she spent the rest of her life in lonely glens, pining away for the love she never knew, until only her voice remained.

The Picture of Dorian Gray The novel tells of a young man named Dorian Gray, the subject of a painting by artist Basil Hallward. Basil is greatly impressed by Dorian’s physical beauty and becomes strongly infatuated with him, believing that his beauty is responsible for a new mode in his art. Talking in Basil’s garden, Dorian meets Lord Henry Wotton, a friend of Basil’s, and becomes enthralled by Lord Henry’s world view. Espousing a new kind of hedonism, Lord Henry suggests that the only thing worth pursuing in life is beauty, and the fulfilment of the senses. Realising that one day his beauty will fade, Dorian cries out, wishing that the portrait Basil has painted of him would age rather than himself. Dorian’s wish is fulfilled, subsequently plunging him into a series of debauched acts. The portrait serves as a reminder of the effect each act has upon his soul, with each sin being displayed as a disfigurement of his form, or through a sign of aging.