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Elle Decor Italia

What is synaesthesia? Let’s find out in a textile woods

Pathless Woods is the latest installation by Anne Patterson at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art: visitors are invited to mix and overlap sense in a vertigo of images, sounds and movements


Pathless Woods is the new installation by Anne Patterson at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art

We often discuss the feeling of being dragged inside an artwork, maybe getting lost in its recesses. To this end, Anne Patterson realised Pathless Woods, an installation made of colourful ribbons aimed to let visitors delve deep in an unusual sensory experience and enter a synesthetic condition. “When I hear sound, I see color”, she stated. “When listening to the music, I visualise vertical lines, hence the satin ribbons.” Currently on display at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Pathless Woods features 8472 hanging satin ribbons whose nuances ranges from dark blue and pink to red, green and light blue; together with the sound of classical music, ad hoc visuals are projected upon the dense mass of fabric in order to gently call visitors in and encourage their sensual perceptions to overlap.

Anne Patterson’s installation stretches on a fairly small area, and still invites its users to take random breaks, change paths, pop in and out multiple times, whether together with fellow guests or alone. In such cases, we often ask ourselves: “Is it art or entertainment?” Although this is not necessarily an aut aut, Pathless Woods mainly aims to force people to leave reality and enter another one, interactive and yet subtle, where people become key players through their unique synesthetic approach.

The perfect quote for describing Anne Patterson’s work comes straight from Life in the woods by Henry David Thoreau: “It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look”.



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