If Hollywood has taught us anything about death on Earth — and goodness knows it has — it’s that we’ll be welcomed to the afterlife by an eye-squintingly bright white void. For his latest site-specific exhibition, artist Doug Wheeler has transformed the classical architecture of Palazzo Grassi building in Venice into what looks like a portal to heaven.
Wheeler has proven himself a kind of master at distorting and transforming the familiar built environment into something otherworldly, somehow free from the confines of corners, ceilings, walls, or floors. Even gravity seems like it could conceivably have disappeared. His experience as a pilot gives him a unique perspective on the way we understand the landscape — either here, on the ground, or up in the air — and how quickly it can drift away.
Unlike his show earlier this year at the David Zwirner Gallery in New York, here the horizon lines have been completely eliminated — it’s like everything ceases to exist beyond the Doric columns.
I can only imagine what it’s like to cross the threshold, but if I were to guess I’d say: meditative, calming — a super chilled out sitch, and very nice indeed. Check it out at the Palazzo Grassi through 6 January 6, 2015.