MISSISSIPPI RIVER FUGUES, 2008

Solo Exhibition
Art Museum of the University of Memphis — Memphis, Tennessee

Curated by Leslie Luebbers, Director

Entering the museum’s lobby, the viewer is surrounded by voices of cotton farmers, river guides, levee supervisors and others telling their stories which are emerging from hurricane lanterns.  An 18th century French drawing of a "machine dredger" powered by men in squirrel wheel cages inspires the main installation. Entering the darkened gallery, the viewer is dwarfed by 2 giant squirrel wheels and 5 buoys. Inside the giant wheels (standing 15 and 20 ft. high) are video projections (10 ft. and 6 ft. diameter) of a man running endlessly, seemingly powering the dredger’s wheels. 

Each of the five buoys (6 to 14 ft. high) houses an oscillating motor and video projector in the top section. Oscillating 90 degrees, video images move across the surrounding walls and form a visual fugue exploring the haunting history, poignant beauty and delicate balance found in the interdependence of the lives of people in the Delta, the cotton industry and Mississippi River.


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Mississippi River Fugues –
essay by Tom Sleigh

Available in: 

RIVER FUGUES – Margaret Cogswell

A book of essays and images of 17 years of River Fugues projects and drawings