oil on canvas, woodLucy McKenzie's installation investigates issues around power, ownership, and authenticity using paintings and sculptures as simulated decor. The commercial techniques she utilizes, such as faux marble and trompe l'oeil, were learned at Ecole Van Der Kelen, a school for decorative painting in Brussels.
Marble can symbolize authority, evoking interiors constructed in an age when those in power had limitless means at their disposal. It also represents the prized status of natural resources. This, for McKenzie, has parallels with culture’s appetite for the genuine – political and ecological alternatives, subculture and the historic avant-garde are often merely content to be mined and polished, instrumentalized through appropriation into works of contemporary art. The exotic woods used in cabinet making have a direct link with, and are visual stand-ins for, colonization.
The installation explores the way in which historic design is presented through mise-enscène in applied art museums, how design functions when it is removed from its original setting, and what information is transmitted about its original owners.