The Gallery: Carol Irving

The Gallery: Carol Irving

amy chase
Apr 26, 2006

TRUTH 1994 - View of the TRUTH SUITE, Thread Waxing Space.

To lay, or perhaps to lie... Introducing Carol Irving.

In my continuing efforts to expand the possiblities of living with original works of art, I bring you the polygraph bedspread. The one pictured here is one of only 4 such artifacts; a development of artist Carol Irving's investigations into truth-telling and lying over the past 10 years.

Polygraph Bedspread - 86 x 86, queen size. Installation view with 5 polygraph charts: Dirty, Damaged, Denial, Guilty, Sneaky. 1996

These investigations began in 1994 when Irving set up "shop" with her Truth Suite (above), an installation she created at the Threadwaxing space in NYC. Here she administered polygraph tests to viewers/volunteers, providing them with a choice of question menus - Dirty, Damaged, Denial, Guilty, Sneaky.

The Polygrapher Color photograph from the TRUTH 1995 Series

Polygraph Bedspread Detail - Dirty Menu Polygraph Chart

Irving designs the menus of questions and these are as much the work of art as the printed polygraph charts.

Polygraph Bedspread - Detail of colored embroidery

For this installation, the results of the polygraph tests were fed into an embroidery machine, which in turn generated the stitched bedspreads.

Polygraph Bedspread - Installation view, right edge

Detail of Polygraph Bedspread

Irving is not always the polygrapher... she also creates work as the test-taker, examining her own psyche with this mechanized lie-detecting tool. In her video installation, "Bearing Truth" she examines the relationship of nakedness and vulnerability to truthfulness.

Bearing Truth 2003, Video Installation Still - Anger

The video tracks her progress through a series of polygraph tests, administered as she removes her clothing, one layer at a time until she is naked… and the supposed "truth" at last revealed.

As in a real lie detector test, the results are open to interpretation.

Bearing Truth 2003, Video installation, Installation view of monitor and printed polygraphs

"Do you believe in magic in a young girl's heart?"

I find these printed "answers" very ambiguous, and very beautiful.

Inquiries? Please contact the artist directly via email.

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