To hold two opposing ideas in mind at once is a valuable and powerful act. It enables empathy; it is an antidote to extremism. It validates doubt as a productive intellectual tool. To see one thing and know another – to grapple with paradox – the mind must find a way to allow for the impossible.
Entertaining Illusion combines real objects and moving images using a variation on a 19th-century magician’s technique called “Pepper’s Ghost”. The images mysteriously exchange gestures of filling and emptying, pouring out and pouring in, giving and receiving. A tension develops along the length of the table, as these gestures are enacted while the physical objects remain fixed and apart from one another, unmoving and untouched. The two-sided nature of the piece uncouples the illusion from its theatrical origins, and creates a metaphorical, two-axis space of oppositions, of X- object and Y-image, X-motion and Y-stillness.

BY  Robin Mandel (US)

Robin Mandel is an artist working in sculpture, video, and installation. His recent exhibition venues include the Boston Cyberarts Gallery, Real Art Ways in Hartford CT, Currents 2016 in Santa Fe NM, the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts in Grand Rapids MI, and the Wassaic Project in New York. He has also exhibited in Portland ME, Providence RI, Montreal, Venice, Barcelona, and Jerusalem. He has held residencies at the MacDowell Colony, the Fine Arts Work Center, and Anderson Ranch Arts Center, and has been awarded grants from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts and the St. Botolph Club Foundation in Boston. His teaching credits include the Rhode Island School of Design, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Maine College of Art, and Colby College. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Art at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He lives in western Massachusetts.