Tai Shani: The World to Me Was a Secret: Caesious, Zinnober, Celadon, and Virescent

The Cosmic House

22 April20 December 2024

A new site-specific commission by Turner Prize-winning artist Tai Shani responds to the unique context of The Cosmic House and traces the connections between the artist’s thinking and that of Charles Jencks. Shani writes: “This is a dream, a synchronous opportunity to further extend the shared sensibilities and themes that run through the house, Jencks’ vision and thinking, and my own.”

Shani’s newly commissioned multimedia installation will take its starting point from a new text by the artist, tracing potential links between The Cosmic House and other historical and mythical houses that anthropomorphise architecture – such as the houses of Carlo Mollino, King Ludwig’s operatic castles, and Dali’s dream of Venus Pavillion.

To expand the Jencksian definition of Ad-Hocism (unintended use of materials and objects with surreal results), Shani’s installation will draw on the various Promethean mythologies that were metabolised in Mary Shelley’s creation of Victor Frankenstein and his biologically improvised creature, the Surrealist exquisite corpse made real. A theatrical hypertext, the immersive installation will include sculptural elements, painting, print, sound and text tracing Frankensteinian genealogies. As a way of exploring the mimesis between the house and the body, Shani ultimately poses the question: what makes us human?

The World to Me Was a Secret: Caesious, Zinnober, Celadon, and Virescent will be soundtracked by felicita, a chameleonic identity and sensory atelier, and accompanied by a thematic publication with text by Shani and other invited authors such as Anne Boyer, Bassem Saad, Eszter Steierhoffer amongst others.