‘In his Philosophical Investigations, German philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein contemplates language, its circumstantial sense and the way we construct meaning. His famous thought experiment in which someone is sent shopping for ‘five red apples’ highlights how despite the inwardness of language, our private understanding of what red looks like, we can successfully apply the word in practice. The act of connecting words and meaning is based on their contextualised particularities. The red apples won’t necessarily bear the same shade of red to all of us, but based on cognition, in this particular context, when we think ‘red’ and ‘apples’ – we’re on the same page. Meaning is created intuitively by the users based on the common understanding of the correlation between a word and its applied meaning. Linda Quinlan engages in a similar thought experiment in her video-work ‘Ananas’ (2011) except, hers is a game of deception, where she purposefully presents her opponent (the viewer) with things quite obviously disguised as something else. Two objects set the tone for deciphering the hidden meaning: a green backdrop and a pineapple. The former is a simple piece of fabric often used to create special effects in post-production. It’s a prop that stands in for something else and announces that a transformation, a visual illusion is about to take place. The second object, a pineapple chosen as a predominant pattern feature, is a curious piece of fruit. At first glance, its tough, segmented skin and a tuft of spikey leaves resemble a pine cone. Yet, the harsh exterior forms a shell around a most tender and juicy flesh. These contradictory properties offer a more metaphorical and subtle reading of the act of transformation, one that suggests the need to peel off the layers to get to the core. This deployment of a meta-structure shifts the work into the realm of the ‘virtual’ or ‘imaginary’, challenging the standard perception of things and injecting them with a new meaning, despite the fact, that on the surface, they do remain the same. It’s a game of make-believe where the artist invites us to choose to believe, to disassociate the evident forms from their original signification and convert them into something more symbolic. Here the bare foot becomes the head of a rattling snake slithering and sliding across the screen. Things are not what they seem, yet they seem what they are. Seemingly sparse in content, Quinlan’s video is rich in meaning. The simplest of forms and shapes transform into evocative tropes, which, once layered together and combined with an unexpected sound material, comprise a seductive and intriguing narrative. We can embark on the journey of deciphering it or simply enjoy its visual beauty. The artist gives us the choice to do both. The ball is in your court.’
(‘THE WORLD OF PINEAPPLE’ Text by Marysia Wieckiewicz-Carroll, sourced from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QWP5HKl4R0 on October 24th 2016)
This work is presented on a plasma screen with a pool of yellow silicone. It has been exhibited at ‘6iX DEGREES’, IMMA; ‘Depth of Perception’ Oakville Galleries, Toronto; ‘Anthem for the Peoples Tomorrow’ curated by Ellen Blumenstein, Piet Zwart Institute graduate exhibition, Rotterdam; ‘Hypercolon’ curated by Nathaniel Mellors and Chris Bloor, Smart Project Space, Amsterdam and ‘Strangers’, Alternative Space Loop, Seoul.