Artwork created by Melanie Berardicelli
My current work conveys the spark felt when entering the space of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It is a study of the natural behaviors that the interior space elicits from visitors, and the energy that the visitors bring to the space. Influenced by the hand-painted animations of Claudia Briton, I have transformed motionless paintings into short animated experiences to portray the magic that can be found in a simple visit to the museum.
Oil paints and household materials are used to create familiar scenes within the Metropolitan Museum of Art, balancing the archival with non-precious elements. Each interior is painted on 6”x10” paper, whereas visitors are hand-drawn on plastic sheet protectors with a sharpie. The setting and characters remain stagnant until combined; the space and its occupants rely on each other to recreate the magic of experience. The room itself gains energy from its moving occupants, yet it permeates through the simple linework of each character. This suggests the influence of the room on the actions of its visitors. The ghost-like quality of the outlines conveys a sense of fleeting action and ephemerality. Michael Nyman’s composition, “Time Lapse,” pulses amid the echoing voices of the visitors. Recorded from my visit to the museum in 2018, the audio draws the viewer into the scene and establishes the powerful space of each room, balancing energy and reverence.
My paintings and animations possess an intimate and intrusive quality. Rather than following the actions of a single individual at eye-level, the viewer looks down from the second floor at visitors who are unaware that they are being watched. At this angle, the viewer discovers special moments that the characters themselves will never notice. A young woman raising her arm to take a photo of a column in the Greek and Roman wing unintentionally mirrors the gesture of a nearby bronze sculpture; it is a coincidence that only the viewer is able to realize and appreciate from this vantage point. Thus, the viewer is given the unique privilege to treasure fleeting moments that would otherwise be overlooked.