Robert Talpin, “Everthing Imagined is Real (After Dante)” (2009)

robert-talpin-viii-get-back-the-river-styx-2008“Winston Wachter Fine Art is pleased to announce the opening of Robert Taplin’s new show entitled Everything Imagined is Real (After Dante), on exhibit from January 8 – February 7, 2009. Taplin’s last exhibition at Winston Wachter included tabletop sculptures that depict the everyday with imagined realities. His newest work, again incorporates the strange with familiar while portraying the 14th century classic, Dante’s Inferno, in nine cantos.
Dante’s epic poem is filled with allegory, symbolism and a balance between Dante’s perceived reality and dreams. The first nine cantos follow Dante in his journey through the nine circles of Hell, lead by the Roman poet Virgil. While working with a clear narrative from Dante, Taplin infuses the works in this exhibition with contemporary nuances and situations as well as personal references. For example, in canto IV, Taplin explains that he has constructed an exact replica of his old house as the backdrop for the scene. Taplin displays each diorama from a different vantage point allowing the viewer to either peer into an intimate domestic scene or be confronted with wide-screen drama. He highlights Dante’s role in the narrative by portraying his figure in full color. The rest of the characters and figures, including Beatrice and Virgil, are cast in resin and shown void of color.”    —Winston Wachter

“Robert Taplin’s Everything Real Is Imagined (After Dante) consists of nine sculptures, each referencing scenes from Dante’s Inferno as modern allegories of political strife. Taplin’s story begins as Dante’s does with the uncertain sense of whether or not we are in a dream or reality. Thus My Soul Which Was Still In Flight (The Dark Wood) depicts Dante, as a modern-day everyman, rising from bed to start his journey. As Talpin’s story unfolds, things become more complicated. The third canto of Dante’s Inferno brings Dante and Virgil to the River Acheron in order to cross into the First Circle of Hell. In Across The Dark Waters (The River Acheron), Taplin takes this iconic scene and turns it into a metaphor for the refuge crisis, representing people trying to cross waters, unknowing, just like Dante, of what awaits them upon their arrival. Taplin’s cycle ends with Dante mourning the fall of civilization — in We Went In Without a Fight (Through The Gates of Dis), Dante stands witness to a city destroyed, mourning both life on earth and what may await down below.”    —MASS MoCA

Contributed by Patrick Molloy; Katherine Gagnon (Colby, ’11)