With this exhibition, Deterre draws attention to the importance of play, its erasure from the urban landscape, and the need to preserve public space, in particular, playscapes, from commercial development. With the widespread removal of seesaws from New York’s playgrounds, so goes action, adventure, understanding and the hidden rewards and dangers of the physical world.
In Absent Without Leave, Deterre revisits New York City playscapes and questions the role of play in restoring her own childhood through performed actions as a means of shared catharsis. Deterre’s sculptures abstract and preserve through undefined forms made from negative space. By wrapping portions of pre-existing frameworks designated as public playgrounds, Deterre’s sculptures at once conceal and preserve this conceptually contested space through sculptural abstraction.
Absent Without Leave includes photographic prints that serve as both documentation of these performed actions and as placeholders for the sculptures’ inevitable deterioration or removal. Also included is Deterre’s Seesaw that serves as a symbolic reminder of the principle understanding of play as the root of what has been lost, erased, and replaced in the city’s landscape.