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California artist foils Norwegian opera fans with fabric

July 1st, 2011 / By: / Graphics, Projects

The Snøhetta Opera House overlooks Oslo fjord, a modern statement, a Norwegian landmark and a foundation for urban development. Its unique design includes perforated aluminum-clad walkways, glacial glass walls, white stone, carved wood and a stage curtain woven of cotton, wool and polyester that is not what it seems. Los Angeles artist Pae White scanned images of crumpled aluminum foil and sent the scans to a computer-controlled loom that transformed the pixels into tapestry. The individual threads are visible from a few feet away, but the audience perceives metal, not fabric.

“My work has attempted to subvert the viewer’s expected relationship to an everyday object, nudging them off balance, encouraging a deeper look,” says White. White’s art reflects her interest in use of materials in unexpected ways: tapestries that look like smoke, brightly colored Plexiglas pools, glass rivers, laser-generated drawings and decommissioned fireplaces built into gallery walls. The tinfoil tapestry stage curtain encourages viewers of dance, drama and music to recognize the power of illusion. For more on White’s work in the Snøhetta Opera House, visit www.archdaily.com/440/oslo-opera-house-snohetta/.

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