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Robert Taplin: Recent Narratives
by Karen Wilkin


Among last season’s most haunting exhibitions, Robert Taplin’s “Everything Imagined Is Real (After Dante)” (2007–09) featured nine eerie “tableaux” enacted by small, life-like figures contained in massive wooden “shrines.” Like miniature dioramas with unstable perspectives, the equivocal “stages” were lit in various ways, their characters agile, oddly solid, simplified little ghosts, usually devoid of color like classical statues bleached by time. Each of the tableaux, their sequence announced by Roman numerals from I to IX, was accompanied by lines from Dante’s Inferno, from one of the nine cantos chronicling the poet’s descent, following his guide, Virgil, downward into the circles of Hell.

Across the Dark Waters (The River Acheron), 2007.
Wood, resin, plaster, and lights, 84 x 94 x 50 in.

Image: Courtesy the artist.


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