Anita Thacher “Anteroom”

Microscope Gallery

poster for Anita Thacher “Anteroom”
[Image: Anita Thacher "Anteroom" (1982) 35mm color slide projection, brass doorknob and plate, sound, 108 x 144 x 3 in. Courtesy of the artist and Microscope Gallery]

This event has ended.

Microscope presents Anteroom, the second solo exhibition at the gallery by Anita Thacher, who died on September 8th as preparations were underway for the show.

While the focus of the previous exhibit was on new works, this time we revisit one of the artist’s best known and pioneering installations Anteroom (1982), which previously appeared at the Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington DC and the Sculpture Center in New York, among others. Shown for the first time in New York in over 30 years and in its original format including an instrumental soundtrack by David Byrne, Anteroom reflects Thacher’s longtime interest in light and spatiality as manifest through installation starting in the late 1970s.

Anteroom is a life-size projection installation (11 1/2 minutes, 160 35mm slides, 2 synched projectors, brass doorknob) depicting a sparse yet mysterious room at times occupied by a young woman who, along with objects such as a teapot or a chair, surfaces and moves through the space. The superimposition of the doorknob of a door to a second room in the projection over an identical fixture attached to the gallery wall creates a trompe l’oeuil, merging actual and projected reality. The furniture and other objects, which are often suspended and bathed in colored light, cast shadows on the room’s wall, furthering the illusion of three-dimensionality, challenging the viewer’s perception, and disrupting the delineation of interior and exterior space.

Three “zones” remain constant throughout the piece - the foreground of the projected room and gallery space; the middle ground as represented by both the actual and projected wall; and the room behind the projected door, which is visible only occasionally - and indicate a corresponding layering of time: past, present, and future. As the work progresses “a fiction of motion traverses the zones like a thread making a path through a labyrinth”, Thacher states.

By transforming the gallery into an antechamber - A home parlor? A medical waiting room? An office lobby? A dream or internal state of mind? - and extending the fictional space of the work beyond the gallery wall, Thacher seems to suggest that every room is potentially an anteroom, connecting to a fragment of reality yet to be known.

“My aim [in my work] is not so much to convey a message as to explore what we see, I question what reality is and in my experience, people respond with something in themselves which they do not usually find. […]” - Anita Thacher, 1987

Anita Thacher (d. September 8, 2017) was a New York artist working in multiple mediums including painting, moving image, light, installation, and public art. Her practice addresses issues of spatial and personal perception, memory, and the domestic realm. Most recently her works have been exhibited in “Detours” a solo exhibition Microscope Gallery in 2014, and in “Leeway” at Mixed Greens, New York in 2011/12. Her painting installation “Caravan” (2015) is on view at the New York Public Library Mulberry Street, and her site-specific LED light work “Illuminated Station” (2005, MTA Art In Transit Commission) is permanently installed onto the exterior and interior of the Greenport Long Island Railroad Station, Greenport, New York.

Thacher has made sixteen works in moving image starting in 1968 with the 16mm film “Permanent Wave”, followed by collaborations with Dee Dee Halleck and Dennis Oppenheim and by her most known film “Homage to Magritte” (1975), which was recently screened in the two-person program “Surrealism” at MoMA, New York. In the following years she alternated between film and video formats in acclaimed works such as “The Breakfast Table” (1979) and “Loose Corner” (1986), until her 2015 trilogy “CUT”, “CHASE” and “THE END”.

Additionally, from the late 70s through the early 2010s Thacher completed a series of installations investigating the illusion of space created through light and projection, and ranging from multiple slide projection apparatuses - such as her 1981 “Light House” dedicated to her friend and neighbor Francesca Woodman and “Anteroom” (1982) exhibited at the Hirschhorn Museum - to site-specific light installations and the use of natural light in glass windows and public sculptures.

Her work has also previously exhibited at institutions including MoMA PS1, Long Island City, NY; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Film Society of Lincoln Center, New York; Jeu de Paume, Paris, France, among many others. Thacher’s films are in the public collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Anthology Film Archives, New York; Arsenal, Berlin, Germany; and the Cinémathèque Française, Paris, France; among others.

Grants and awards include those from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, the National Endowment of the Arts, Ford Foundation, American Film Institute, and French Minister of Culture, to name a few.

Thacher was the inaugural recipient of the Martin E. Segal Award of Lincoln Center, a MacDowell Colony Fellow and former Board Member, and a Civitella Ranieri Fellow.



from October 27, 2017 to December 03, 2017

Opening Reception on 2017-10-27 from 18:00 to 21:00


Anita Thacher

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