The people who came to the opening event of the InsideOut show by Bret Bourman were slightly nervous because they know he was a ballet dancer and they were afraid that an interactive performance piece would involve something embarrassing in a tutu. But they need not have worried. At first no one ventured into the gallery, but were whooshed on in by invitation. And they came inside and said nothing for the longest time. That is, about fifteen people in one room saying nothing. Bret’s piece involved the possibility of perception without comment, since he did not have labels on anything and there was no explanation whatsoever as to what one was looking at.
Outside was a kitchen sink with empty photo albums in it, drying in the dish rack. Above it, where one might have a window to look out, was a board with a mirror right in the middle.
Inside, there was clothesline strung from a triple ring in the middle, and on it were clothes clips with blank white pieces of photographic paper hanging.
There was a “tree of life” made of a piece of rolled corrugated roofing material, bound by hosepipe, displaying at the core some green tubing.
There were two waterfalls and waves made from white plastic lattice work, and white tubes.
There was a smokestack shaped set of ducts with a welcome mat in front of it, with a baseball and two gloves next to it. When one looked inside, if one did, there was a mirror at the bottom.
And on one wall was a hopscotch board made of duct tape, contained in a chicken wire cage, with a bale of hay next to it.
This show, comprising these objects, has to do with memory and with presence, with purification and with movement and life and anticipation, and coming back to the Self. It has to do with grasping, with connection, with the components of existence and the way they fit together.
After forty minutes or so of milling around, Bret began to take the individual pieces apart. He asked people to help move things, and put them somewhere else- so a large pile of things grew into a strange mound in the middle of the room, and people made noises and sang- one man sang The Three Penny Opera in German, lying under the table, draped in the liberated hopscotch board, and blowing into the hose.