Christopher Brown, “To Think Of Something peers into another world”, in Metro London, 28 September 2008
This year’s Biennial is at its best when you stumble across things you were not expecting. During the day, you could easily walk past Manfredi Beninati’s piece without even realising it’s there.
A small panel indicates its existence but, surrounded by posters, it doesn’t stand out. The crowds of people that gather around to peer inside are the only giveaway. Two small windows have been cut out of the plywood board covered in fly-posters, which stands on the corner of Renshaw Street and Leece Street.
Looking in and behind the facade of the abandoned building, you’ll see the living room of, what looks like, an affluent family’s apartment. Toys and painting materials lie around the carpet as if they’ve been recently abandoned and a door is slightly ajar at the back, showing a dining room.
It feels as if you’re peering into a different world and, though this could effectively be nosing around somebody else’s home, the unoccupied room is so homely that it doesn’t feel voyeuristic or uncomfortable.
The fashions used help to reinforce the impression of peering into somebody’s childhood. It’s a pleasant and rewarding experience during the day, when you have to work hard to see everything through the sun’s glare. The only real shame is that in the evening the light is so bright the installation glows like a Christmas tree.