Veils was a site-specific installation at the experimental project space, Sheherazade, in Louisville, KY. The exhibition relfected upon the idea of revelations, and spanned from December 2018 through January 2019, the duration of Hanukkah, Christmas, Solstice, as well as the heaviest shopping season of the year.
Guarnaschelli’s installation juxtaposes two works: a looping video projection called ‘Endless Time for End Times’, and ‘The Gift’, a glossy black welded steel sculpture in the shape of a gift box. In the video, the viewers’ gaze focuses on a pair of hands—the artist’s hands, or perhaps our own—ripping open a gift covered with wrapping paper, only to reveal another layer of wrapping paper underneath, and repeating this action ad infinitum. Nothing is revealed except for another layer of excess.
Each layer of paper in Guarnaschelli’s video features a different, custom-made printed pattern based on images drawn from diverse sources such as Botticelli’s 15th century illustrated manuscript of Dante’s Inferno, and the 1920 book Dispensational Truth by influential conservative Baptist Clarence Larkin. Apart from being a word that means the unveiling of something hidden, “revelations” is also the title of final book of the Christian Bible, as well as the word for “apocalypse” in Greek.
The video also alludes to the strange yet staggeringly popular “unboxing videos” on YouTube, in which tens of millions of viewers watch close-up videos of disembodied hands removing products or toys from their packages. These videos reward people vicariously by virtually unwrapping a mystery object, and in doing so, they tap into a primal curiosity that almost transcends the commercial intent of the object.