Carousel (Dear Miami)

Trevor Van den Eijnden
Acrylics, and silver on canvas
91 x 91 cm
2009–2012

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Carousel (Dear Miami) presents a fictionalized and romanticized space and place that I was not fully consciously aware of while making the work. Inspiration sprang from a literal reading of the lyrics of Roísín Murphy’s 2007 song Dear Miami, with two stanzas standing out for their poetic juxtaposition of the loss of space (Miami, Florida) to a dramatic evocation of place (a joyride despite looming calamity). Inside the song I find a dramatized reading of the future, exemplified by these two stanzas:

 

“Dear Miami, you’re the first to go
Disappearing under melting snow
Each and everyone, turn your critical eye
From the burning sun and try not to cry

 

Merry-go-round again
A carousel
Passionate raid
An escapade, adventure’s eve”

 

I believe that Murphy points out a decadence akin to 1797 Venice as Napoleon’s forces swarmed the lagoon—we are doing too little too late to prepare for a change we know approaches. Routine leads to patterns, to cycles, and like a carousel is a fixed place; an event that repeats itself. That Miami is singled out is because it will be the first major city to disappear beneath the rising tides.

 

I feel that an optimism of place is captured in Carousel (Dear Miami) through the absurdity of its space. Alone, it sits on a dark ice field, a frozen landscape without visible end, that is evocative of  Steven Spielberg’s 2001 film A.I. Yet, despite it’s space, light emanates from offstage, thus rendering outside form visible. In particular, the yellow lights illuminate the object, pulling it off of the purple background. From what source does the electricity flow? Where are the riders? How can such an implausible space exist? What is this place?