Ottawa's Artist Project Room at RIA (Research in Art) began the season surreptitiously, searching for alternative ways to bring viewers and art together. Breaking the habit of looking at art in the party-atmosphere of openings, RIA invited a few individuals at a time to come and see the interventions Deborah created in the house and garden.
Before, the owners of the house, artists Petra Halkes and Rene Price, left for The Hague on August 14, they had given Deborah their keys and permission to use all areas of house and garden to create and install art works, except in their tenant's rooms.
They had invited Deborah because she has extensive experience creating interventions in unusual places. In recent years, she has worked with the sense of taste, investigating the propensities of tangible materials that have sweet, sour or salty attributes. At RIA, Deborah created surreal meetings between salt blocks, paper and other materials, placing them in some private, some common, and some unused spaces inside and outside the home.
On September 14, a number of people were welcomed into Petra and Rene's home by Sabrina Chamberland, one of Deborah's former students. Each visitor had been assigned a time slot and was given a map designed by Deborah. In the absence of the artist and the owners of the house, they poked around the house alone, sometimes meeting a stranger or friend on the stairways, in the laundry room or kitchen. They found, among everyday stuff and an eclectic art collection, seventeen wonderfully transformed blocks of salt.
Ten visitors returned on September 23rd, for an animated discussion in which stories arose on voyeurism, on paper and on attics, on upturned chairs and on the scientific and mythical properties of salt.
Photographs of Salt and Paper taken by Lawrence Cook and Lynda Hall in September, 2013
Text adapted from Salt and Paper and other events, Deborah Margo at RIA, 2013-2014, [details]