Waiting For Baumann

2008 - 2009

This installation addresses Gustave Baumann, a print-maker and woodcarver who played a large role in the history of arts in Santa Fe, as a “site” within the New Mexico Museum of Art. Baumann was active in the early development of the Museum and for many years his studio was installed in the Museum’s basement. My project addresses Baumann’s passion for marionettes and coincided with an exhibition of the hand-carved puppets Baumann produced throughout his career.

In this installation centers on a recreation of a small corner of Baumann’s studio. On a worktable made by the artist, a puppet waits to be finished. Above the table, six puppets hang in their completed form. These puppets are my own interpretations of the original Baumann figures and have been constructed from photographs of myself playing Baumann’s characters. A video piece is then projected onto the human puppets portraying the marionettes in a state of restless waiting. The piece draws on Baumann’s woodcut print “The Marionettes Backstage” (ca. 1935) in which the lifeless puppets wait for their creator to animate them. As a result of Baumann’s death and the advancing age and frailty of the surviving marionettes, the puppets are never used in actual performances. In fact, they remain constantly inanimate, echoing Baumann’s woodcut image. This video installation also draws its title from Beckett’s play Waiting for Godot where the performers wait endlessly for someone the audience quickly realizes will never appear. As with Vladimir and Estragon, the puppets in my video remain hopeful that Baumann will return to give them meaning and direction once again.

Exhibition Venue:

New Mexico Museum of Art, as a part of “Altered Spaces”, February – May 2009, Santa Fe, New Mexico