Merci Beaucoup BlogTO

Derek Flack join us Under the Table: 

Rob Southcott's "Under the Table" at 47
When I had my first look at this installation, I was underwhelmed. Four giant "table legs?" Surely I'm missing something, I thought. As it turns out, I was and I wasn't. On the one hand, there is no additional element to this show. But on the other -- as I was to find after spending a little time contemplating Southcott's work -- what you see, isn't necessarily what you get. As I dwelled in the gallery space a for a little while, my mind finally kicked into gear, and I realized that there's a sophisticated challenge posed by "Under the Table."

Despite the formal simplicity, the implications of this particular transformation of 47 are quite demanding of the viewer. And here I can't help but recall the (extensive) production notes from Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie. In describing the setting (or, more aptly, the stage) of the play, Williams' offers the following: "The scene is memory and therefore nonrealistic."

 Another way of putting this, of course, is to say that the play takes place not inside an apartment, but within a brain. Like this direction from Williams, "Under the Table" asks the viewer to engage fully with the notion that he/she is under a table -- to take the figurative construction as real, if only momentarily. And, if the challenge is (really) taken up, wonderful and perhaps discomforting things happen. Beyond noticing that 47's wood ceiling resembles the bottom side of a table top, the creative participant (no longer just a viewer) is left to experience the odd, invigorating and even alienating experience of being half-hidden and profoundly small in relation to his/her surroundings.


Under the Table runs until October 30th, 2009.