Kate Rohde

TCB Art Inc. Melbourne, April, 2002

"Cabin Fever"
Images from Opening Night Festivities
Click on the PLAY button to see a short video of the exhibition


  “Cabin Fever” The term used to describe spending too long in a particular space, resulting in a desperate urge to escape. One might come down with "Cabin Fever" as a consequence of the isolation of a cabin's location and perhaps also because of the inescapable close proximity of other people. It is also a term I use in association with the body of work I have constructed, which is greatly inspired by the aesthetic of the log cabin.

I was especially interested in the cabin as a typically male space, a place where one retreats to pursue activities like hunting and fishing. It is usually located in the wilderness, without all the modern conveniences, it is a place of contemplation and self sufficiency.

The cabin too is the realm of the loner and misfit, those not wishing to be troubled by the concerns of the world, or alternatively so distraught that they must withdraw completely. The Infamous American terrorist the "Unabomber", Ted Haczynski wrote his anti-technology manifesto and devised his attacks from his home, a 4 x 5 metre cabin in the wilds of Montana. 

While the cabin is a refuge from the rest of the world, it is also a refuge from the wilderness, a kind of compromise between the comfort of a house and the discomfort and unpredictability of the great outdoors. You can experience nature without actually being completely in it and vulnerable to bad weather, insect bites and perhaps even killer wildlife. This is the aspect of the cabin which fascinates me most, particularly the interior decoration which often utilises natural materials like roughly hewn wood, stone, animal skins and hunting trophies. 

In "Cabin Fever" the experience of nature is sanitised and reconstructed to suit our needs absolutely, the animals are transformed into functional objects to serve us and make our lives easier, a wolf is now a faithful chair side drink holder and a beaver a container for fire lighters. The work constructed for the exhibition recreates stone, logs, animal skins and trophies using inexpensive and very unnatural materials such as papier mache, mdf, masking tape, pva glue and acrylic paint. Nature is further satinised by being recreated in idealised forms and out of materials that are far removed from the things they represent.


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