Pulsating with light and boldly articulating the words of its title, Faded Wallpaper, is a neon sculpture made around 1988 by Tina Keane. An earlier video and neon installation of the same title was exhibited at the Serpentine Gallery, London, in 1986. A playful contradiction, the title and central theme of Keane’s work is inspired by The Yellow Wallpaper, a short story by the American writer, Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Written and published in 1892, Gilman’s story is widely acknowledged as one of the most influential early examples of Feminist literature.
Of her film and its subject, Keane has written:
'Based loosely on the short story by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Faded Wallpaper is concerned with visual perception, madness and the search for identity. A woman, isolated within a room, becomes obsessed with the wallpaper surrounding her, seeing within its faded patterns strange images – at times pleasurable and seductive, at times threatening and dangerous. As these images become more insistent she begins to strip the wallpaper away in an attempt either to banish the images or get to their source. Words and sounds run through her head as she peels away the layers, questioning her own self-image, her imagination and her sanity. No solutions are given, only more questions…'
An internationally acclaimed artist, Keane has worked since the 1970s in a wide variety of media, from performance and installation to film, video, digital technologies and neon.
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