Between Public and Private Spaces


Dishwashing Sculptures from exhibit "Women Between Buildings"

Nicole Wermers, explores the relationships and boundaries between public and private space through her sculptural installations where everyday objects are re-cast. She is particularly interested in urban space and it's social, economic and psychological affects.   In an interview in BerlinArtLink Wermers states, "Private and public spheres are increasingly merging in different layers of reality and space is now something that a lot of people experience mainly behind the screen."   I was drawn to 3 examples of her work. The first two are from an installation called "Women Between Buildings". The first image of a dishrack I found aesthetically beautiful and like a work of art. It has no relation to the dishracks I've experienced, although it was equally loaded and balanced. I wondered if the overloaded state and delicate positioning signify the many jobs women often do juggle on a day to day basis without recognition. Sometimes they even master a beautiful façade in the midst of it all.   Part of what I understand the artist aims to do in this exhibit is to challenge the minimization of what's been traditionally coined as women's work. I suppose it does elevate the more mundane but necessary private parts of life.   Interestingly, as I thought about this piece I thought of Duchamp's signed urinal. The whole idea of what makes something "art" came to mind. Is it the space it inhabits? Is it the object itself or both? Does it matter?

"Mood Boards"

This second image is from her series of "Mood Boards" where baby changing tables have been extracted from public bathrooms and then filled with terrazzo tile. Terrazzo is flooring material. Initially terrazzo was created by Venetian construction workers from pieces of marble and other organic material left from old buildings. It's a durable flooring material that doesn't show wear and hides dirt. It has a very sensorial presence.

"Untitled Forcefield" 2007

The last image "Untitled Forcefield" inspired by metal detectors at the exit of department stores. “I became interested in the metal detectors because they are these weird pieces of urban furniture that are visible and invisible at the same time. They are part of the fabric of the city, directing people through the urban landscape, determining their movements and sometimes actions. An invisible radiation emanates from the detectors, and their presence is meant to scare off potential thieves. They are often paired, and the way that people walk through them makes them reminiscent of ancient stone lions guarding the entrances of archaic buildings.”   This quote is from an article by Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson you can read the full text HERE.



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