Heavens Gate

1987 Amsterdam, Netherlands
Coauthors: Jeffrey Shaw, Harry de Wit (sound)

Production: Video Hilversum, Netherlands

Heaven’s Gate is a video installation that was first shown in the stairwell of Felix Meritis in Amsterdam. In other venues the work usually occupies a specially constructed tall, dark room. The video image is projected high up onto a 3m x 4m screen on the ceiling, while on the floor beneath there is a same-sized mirror that can be walked on. Visitors standing on this mirror see both their own reflection and the reflection of the projected image on the ceiling. The otherwise total darkness of the space creates for the viewer a state of visual suspension between the two image planes. It is an immersive and embodied construct that draws the spectator into the virtual space of the imagery and dissolves the boundary between material and immaterial identity.

The conceptual and iconographic references in this work are largely derived from Baroque ceiling paintings and aerial/satellite pictures of the surface of Earth. These images alternate in a computer-processed morphology that deconstructs and manipulates the constituent pixels of the original images and then anamorphically reconfigures them in a virtual three-dimensional space. This digital tromp l'oeil interpolates the awesome contemporary view of planet Earth photographed from space with the ecstatic Baroque gaze up to the heavens, a dizzying axis between an above and below that has lost its qualitative distinction. Other iconographic references in this work further elucidate this vertiginous contraposition, such as the Futurists’ aerial point of view and the spatial apotheoses of El Greco and Piero Manzoni.

Related Documents
Exhibition Record

2006 : State Library of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia

1987/09/17 - 10/11 : Felix Meritis 1787-1987 Festival, Shaffy Theater, Amsterdam, Netherlands

1988/08/25 - 09/09 : The Third Australian Video Festival, Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, Australia

1989/09/02 - 09/21 : 25 Jahre Video-Skulptur, Kongresshalle, Berlin, Germany

1990/06/18 - 1991/04/27 : Close Encounters, Galerie Paul Andriesse, Amsterdam, Netherlands

1991/09/28 - 11/17 : Outer Space: 8 Photo & Video Installations, Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, United Kingdom

1991/11/30 - 1992/01/19 : Outer Space: 8 Photo & Video Installations, Ferens Art Gallery, Hull, United Kingdom

1992/03/20 - 04/26 : Outer Space: 8 Photo & Video Installations, Camden Arts Centre, London, United Kingdom

1992/05/23 - 06/28 : Outer Space: 8 Photo & Video Installations, Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol, United Kingdom

1992/08/22 - 10/04 : Der entfesselte Blick, Seedamm-Kulturzentrum , Pfäffikon, Switzerland

1992/09/04 - 10/11 : Fotografie Biennale Rotterdam III, Perspektief, Centre for Photograph, Rotterdam, Netherlands

1993/10/27 - 11/16 : InterCommunication '93 Media Passage, Shibuya BEAM, Tokyo, Japan

1994/09/26 - 1995/01/08 : Technoart: An Interactive New Media Exhibition, Ontario Science Centre, Toronto, Canada

1995/05/13 - 05/21 : Fin de siècle, MultiMediale 4, Opelgelände, Karlsruhe, Germany

1995/09/30 - 11/05 : Jeffrey Shaw Trigon-Personale 95, Neue Galerie Graz, Graz, Austria

1995/10/26 - 11/26 : Arslab II - I Sensi del Virtuale, Promotrice delle Belle Arti, Torino, Italy

1996/01/20 - 02/25 : Current Coordinates, Mûcsarnok, Budapest, Hungary

1999/07/30 - 10/17 : Heaven: An Exhibition That Will Break Your Heart, Kunsthalle, Düsseldorf, Germany

1999/12/09 - 2000/02/27 : Heaven: An Exhibition That Will Break Your Heart, Tate Gallery, Liverpool, United Kingdom

2000/05/28 - 10/15 : Himmelfahrt, Trilogie zeitgenössischer Kunst zur Jahrtausendwende, Diözesanmuseum, Freising, Germany

2000/05/28 - 07/16 : Himmelfahrt, Trilogie zeitgenössischer Kunst zur Jahrtausendwende, Karmelitenkirche, Munich, Germany

2001/11/22 - 12/15 : Morphologies, Artspace Visual Arts Centre, Sydney, Australia

2001/11/22 - 12/15 : Morphologies, Ivan Dougherty Gallery, Sydney, Australia

2019/04/19 - 07/07 : Passé Augmenté x Présent Augmenté, Arts Center of Enghien-les-Bains, Enghien-les-Bains, France