The Magic Wardrobe
In the middle section of an old three-door wardrobe, the artist placed a photograph with a beautiful winter landscape: a flowing stream, rocks, and snow-covered trees. The idyllic scene encourages the viewer to come closer and examine it more closely. However, the viewer’s movement causes the image to disappear and what they can see up close is just their own reflection. The Venetian mirror and motion sensor used in this interactive installation make it impossible to see what the viewer expected to see up close. This evokes associations with the outstanding fantasy novel by C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe from the Chronicles of Narnia series. The book describes the fate of children staying in the countryside, shielded from the atrocities of WWII. At home, they find an old wardrobe that allows them to travel to another world.
Collishaw used this process to confront the viewer, encouraged by the beautiful image, with their own non-idealized image. In this way, the artist attempts to expose the illusion of our desires for utopia, and at the same time convince us to appreciate a realistic view of reality and ourselves.