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Weekly Alibi Roomful of Mystery

Feeling the "Pull" at The Neutral Space

By Jeffery Lee

AUGUST 4, 1997:  It's a particularly bracing pleasure to see an installation that cares about the room it's installed in, not just as a receptacle but as a vital component of the work. Lucas Thorpe's Pull employs its four specific, white-draped walls and empty spaces in marvelous and subtle ways.

Thorpe's spare environment has a wonderful, dynamic sense of interior space--"interior" in both the mental and architectural senses. One small black and white photograph of a faceless figure (the artist?) is the work's vortex. Mounted dead center of one wall, it seems to "project" the whole room and its contents. The figure's vaguely abracadabra-positioned hands extend to a full ceiling-length pulley, from which is suspended Pull's conceptual and literal centerpiece: a big, weird and function-nonspecific wood and canvas--aircraft? It looks something like a pram that has morphed into a helicopter.

A grainy, sensuous black and white loop of a rocking, crouching figure (filmed by Thorpe and Neutral Space owner Joseph Upsall in Super-8, then transferred to video and video-projected onto the Space's draped front window) is visible from both inside and out. Pull leaks out of the gallery, onto the street, while inside, the room reverberates with DJ Karate's perfectly integrated soundspace. The interrelationship among Pull's parts is both ambiguous and instantly evident. That's the sign of a purposeful installation. Thorpe, Upsall and DJ Karate offer a roomful of airy mystery. With a handful of materials, Lucas Thorpe and friends have turned the smallish Neutral Space into something like the inside of a fascinating machine. Its function may be an enigma, but its working parts work like a dream.

Pull runs at 306 Lead SE through Aug. 5. Call 256-0928.

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