AboutMise en abyme is a term that refers to a story within a story. It is the effect you get when you face two mirrors towards one another, revealing an infinite world of reflecting light where before there was only a few square yards of empty space. Only when the two mirrors are facing one another does the focus of attention shift away from our own reflection and onto the mirror itself- forcing us to wonder about, and test the properties of, it's reflectiveness.
Today we spend more time trapped in the heterotopic space of the mirror than we do in the real world, constantly observing our experiences through the shared online portal of social networking sites or through self-staged photography and video. People are beginning to understand themselves through the apparent norms of others, such as reality shows or people posting on YouTube, where authenticity has become a kind of camp. The virtual world is no longer an echo of the real one, where it exists as a mere shadow or reflection, but has become the site through which all of reality is accessed. Just as Narcissus stared at his reflection until he became a flower, society itself has been transformed into a reflection of its reflection, bouncing infinitely through space until its substance is defined solely by its energy and speed.
In Mise En Abyme Justin Berry takes virtual worlds and nests them inside of a real space. Having built a virtual model of The Pigeon Wing's gallery, he will be filling it with the works of fictional artists, allowing viewers to see themselves in the virtual space through a live video feed. In the merged image, where the two worlds collide, both worlds become perforated and insubstantial, so that they bleed into one another. Inside the gallery will be echoes of the virtual show, simplified reproductions of the images and object on view in the virtual space. Along the walls will be an accompanying series of images. Each image is of a book cover where all of the information and context has been removed. These images act as portals to unnamed, and therefore unlimited, potential worlds. Rather than be framed or mounted, the images adhere flat to the wall just as they would in the textured space of a video game.
Justin Berry is a New York based artist who uses virtual spaces and real spaces interchangeably, making work that exists in the space between them. For the last few years he has been running the Waymaker Gallery, an ongoing project about a fictional exhibition that exists online and included shows by both real and imaginary artists. The gallery has been included in exhibitions at the Chelsea Art Museum in New York and the NEXT art fair in Chicago. His work has been shown in Houston, Chicago, Peru, Paris, New York, and London. Mise en abyme will be Justin Berry's first solo show in the UK.
With thanks to Beck's Fusion