For her first solo exhibition at Triple Base Gallery, Elisheva Biernoff has drawn inspiration from architectural follies—the whimsical neoclassical structures devised in the eighteenth century to lend interest to the gardens of the European aristocracy.
The notion if enchanting nature to decorate our interiors and extend the implications of "folly" in the sense of a foolish or ill-advised undertaking are encapsulated in Biernoff's installation. Comprising a set-like fragment of a room in an advanced state of disrepair, Folly is richly resonant in the context of an overhyped art market and as a comment on the fetishization of production values. Every element of the ruin is handcrafted by the artist. The finely wrought textured layers of wallpaper, the trailing morning glory vines overhanging the walls, and the "trash" littering the floor create a dizzyingly faux scene of decorative decay. The flatscreen TV, which serves as a window, is the only technological intrusion. It is there to provide a twenty-first century folly in the form of a time-lapse view of native flowers transplanted to and filmed by the ratist on Mount Tamalpais. The distant sound of birdcalls that at first appears to be part of Folly in fact derives from Out the Window (2010), which is installed in the basement, Here Biernoff creates an eerie shadow play from paper cutouts and clever lighting. The silhouetted plants and birds are animated by an audio that starts relatively simply with a single piping bird call and amplifies gradually to a jungle composition which includes a full blown lion's roar.
Luckily any panic induced by the crescendo and the slightly dank basement is diffused by the static view. The success of this work seems to lie less in agonizing about where "nature and culture mee" as the press release claims, and more in providing an environment where the imagination and reason can wrestle.