Rick Araluce: The Final Stop” Exhibition at the Renwick

  • Rick Araluce: The Final Stop transforms a gallery into an abandoned underground subway platform in the artist’s first large-scale installation on the East Coast. Stepping on to the platform, visitors are enveloped in the illusion of an eerie subterranean world where flickering lights and distant rumblings suggest the comings and goings of trains that never arrive.

    RICK ARALUCE: I’m Rick Araluce, I’m a visual artist. I’ve been creating, painting, makings things, I think, my whole life. The piece I’m creating for the Renwick is entitled "The Final Stop."

    Essentially, you’re going to walk into an immersive environment that is a subway station. It’s not meant to be Washington, DC. It’s not meant to be London, the Tube, even New York, but it’s going to reference the catacomb, dark, recessed, mysterious feeling of this underground system that is in most every major city. There will be sight, you’ll be seeing a receding tunnel on either side. You’ll be seeing an opposite platform, opposite in what’s called forced perspective.

    I’m going to do this in a way that brings you into a space that is both real and fantastical. It’s a space that can’t possibly exist, and yet you will be compelled. You’ll see light from one end to your right and to your left and from the other of a train coming up the track. You’ll hear the approaching, rising sound, that kind of thrumming sounds that we all know from the underground, from trains, and from such. But the train will never quite arrive, which will be menacing and compelling and mysterious and maybe ultimately frustrating.

    We decided it would be a really interesting experiment, if you will, to show how the magic, how the experience actually was created, because it’s really created out of sticks and wood sheeting and foam. I work for theatre, and when you go right past the scenery, the legs or the borders or the scrim or the backdrop, the scenery, and see what it’s made out of, having that experience and knowing that it still works and still spellbinds and compels you is kind of a fascinating insight into creation of this sort.

    I plan to have a couple of places where you can peer in through a grill or a grating or an aperture into a surprising scene. It’ll be a nice and interesting and fun experience to realize, oh my gosh, there’s even more to this work than the larger experience you walk right into.

    In my work, I’ve been told by people who know, there’s a highly cinematic quality to some of what I do. I have a proscenium-like stage, or like a movie theatre, with which you view an experience, and that is sort of central. With what I’ve been more recently I bring you into, you go through that fourth wall that the theatre or movie screen has. That’s magic. I mean cinema, theatre, what I’m trying to do is create a magic experience that you can’t have in another way. It’s both artistic and experiential and allows you to have free reign without that space with your own story. And that’s a lot of what cinema and theatre are about. Telling stories, bringing you into another reality, another story, another world.