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After School

Teen Summer Workshop Series
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The Mattress Factory is an artist-centered museum, international residency program and renowned producer and presenter of installation art. We say “yes” to artists, offering time and space to dream and realize projects in our hometown, Pittsburgh, PA. We invite audiences from around the world and around the corner to step inside, immerse and connect with the artistic process.

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Jim Hirschfield

Temple and Garden


This play is a reflection on the (im)possibility of accepting diversity and the other. The fragmented body of the neoplasm—the fruit of unstable conditions—overcomes barriers, loves and denies itself and others, wanders around, forgetting its profession. It frequently and with pleasure divides, goes through dangerous palpation, questions the possibility of contact with the experience of the other. Poorly brought up but very successful, it invites us to a trans-species transition.

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You take off your shoes, ascend stairs through a doorway, and walk around a fifty-foot rectangular pool recessed into the floor. The watery surface is made of two planes of sheer monofilament fiber tightly strung at close, regular intervals. Indirect lighting is dimly reflected in the fibers. A balcony at the top of a railless staircase at the far end of the gallery offers a longer view.

A smaller room holds a translucent blue-green column, joining the ceiling to a sunken area on the floor. Each of the four faces is made in the same way as the meditative pool. At the corners, the monofilament forms a glassy sheet.

Artist Statement

I've been using monofilaments to investigate the phenomenon that results from the creation of ephemeral planes that pass through, divide, and ultimately become an integral aspect of the space in which they exist.

My explorations into ephemeral planes and atmospheres have led to the creation of "spaces of sanctuary." Combining traditional building materials and monofilament, I am constructing spaces that are designed to control the viewer's experience. Participants enter my installations and move through carefully orchestrated moments that culminate in an environment of atmospheric ambiguity and light.


Jim Hirschfield: January 12 - 24, 1985
About The Artist

Jim Hirschfield holds a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and a MFA from the University of Oregon. He is currently an Associate Professor in the Art Department at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

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