Art Blackhouse – Artist’s Book

The new publication of 200% is an Artist’s book by the American visual artist Matthew Day Jackson. Read the introduction story behind Blackhouse.

In 2016, Matthew Day Jackson had the interior of his empty house in Brooklyn painted matte black and worked within the space for five months. The building took on the character of a black box theatre with an integrated stage, backstage and house. Jackson worked within the blacked out space to create new works in painting, photography, sculpture and performance to assemble an exhibition.

Domestic spaces have inspired Jackson for many years and the house and its rooms were a laboratory for a new way of working. The house itself and its living room, kitchen, bedroom, dining room, bathroom and basement became a tool to reconsider existing work and further explore themes of personal family narrative, childhood memories, displacement, domestic life, violence in American society, shame and taboo.

As an artist, Jackson works with methods and materials that engender destabilising scenarios. The black box house-as-studio, stripped of furniture, tools and materials required a new perspective on control, risk and theatricality. In this familiar yet alien environment, he waited to see what ideas would reveal themselves.

The exhibition installed in the Blackhouse was never open to the public due to a mundane scheduling conflict but this could also be attributed to reluctance. Following the deinstallation of the works, Jackson has postulated that maintaining the conceptual private/public paradox of domesticity strengthens the premise of the exhibition. Shortly after the exhibition closed, the new owners of the house began a gut renovation of the building.

Now, the Blackhouse exists only as a facsimile in a forthcoming artist’s book. Jackson has created a limited edition slip case for the book which depicts a three-dimensional scorched earth surface of the Brooklyn neighbourhood where the house was located.

As a preview, Jackson will give a mini tour of the Blackhouse here