Exhibition: Open Space: Pentti Monkkonen, 2009
Temple of Dionysos, 2009
Marine plywood, stainless steel, brass, bronze, mahogany, oak, urethane foam, urethane, epoxy, fiberglass, enamel, latex paint
8 1/2' x 24' x 8'
Temple of Dionysos is a sculpture that is part cargo boat, part neoclassical temple. The deck of the boat doubles as a stage; its crane serves as a deus ex machina, or "god from the machine". In ancient Greek theatre, a crane was used to lower actors who played gods onto the stage, serving as a device to expeditiously resolve conflict in drama. The shape of the boat deck begins with the formal semi circle of the amphitheater, which is elongated and bounded with another semi circle at its stern. This simple geometry reflects the purely utilitarian, "machine aesthetic" of cargo boats. At the base of the semi circular wheel house, there is a frieze of longshoremen carrying crates. The combination of the "machine aesthetic" and the neoclassical frieze recalls 1930's art and architecture which purposefully glorified the worker. Dionysos is the god of theatre, and it was for the Dionysic festivals that the first written plays were performed. This modern Temple of Dionysos does not serve as a stage for a specific performance. Instead, it gives the viewer an experience akin to walking onto an empty stage. One may wonder at performances past, or experience a heightened self awareness under the gaze of an invisible crowd.