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  • Writer's pictureArthur Bruso

Into the Magic Space (Book)

Curious Matter presents Into the Magic Space by Arthur Bruso

The introductory essay for each photo series:

Into the Magic Space

“Into the Magic Space” was the first series to develop out of Association Sublimation. I began with the idea to visually highlight associations between separate images. For example, the first piece in the series, Entropic Inertia, is comprised of three photographs. Two are interior views of a dilapidated shed, and one is the exterior. In all of these images--the sunlight hitting the interior wall, the area outside seen through the doorway, and finally the place over the wall in the exterior image--it’s the suggestion of a space beyond that intrigued me. This seemed like a magical space, a space of possibility, a space where transformation was possible. That idea gave me the title of the series.

The series is also informed by laws of the physical universe. The decaying shed suggested entropy; how things fall apart and disorder is the rule. All of the images in the series correlated to theories of astronomy and the processes of the universe. The colored areas provide the clues for the magic space. The color transforms the mundane into the place of interest, the place where the real transforms into the conceptual.

The series is dedicated to Kinsey Baker - “Gone to meet the King.”

“Into the Magic Space” was presented as an exhibition at Curious Matter, Jersey City, NJ, May 1 - June 30, 2007

The House Falls Into Meadow

From the Meadow Rises a Forest

Behind my childhood home, on the top of a terrace stood a large frame house. It was known in the neighborhood as Sherman’s Mansion, not because of any association with the Civil War, but through the name of the owner of the property. It was a Queen Anne style building, three stories tall with a first floor porch . A long, slate paved and privet lined path, with two terrace steps led to the front door. The property had at one time been grandly landscaped. Huge pendulous elm trees shaded the land. Lilacs and bridal wreath shrubs surrounded the foundation.

When I knew the house it had been cut up by Mr. Sherman into apartments. The back garden had been paved with gravel for a parking lot. At night from my bedroom window, I would often watch the car headlights of the residents as they turned into the parking lot and hear the gravel crunch under their tires. As the neighborhood declined, the residents slowly left until the house stood empty.

A neighbor boy, using destruction to gain a sense of accomplishment and hopefully some attention, set the empty house afire one night. I watched the flames lick the sky from my bedroom window. Eventually, the rubble was bulldozed away and only the garden remained to remind passers-by of the grand house that once stood there.

The unkempt garden grew wild for years. Finally, a committee brought the overgrown lot to the attention of the city and asked that a basketball court be built on the site. The flat topped terrace seemed ideal for such a project. The basketball court was realized, and the lawns brought back under control.

This is how the site remains today. I had watched as these changes manifested: a house, a fire, a meadow, a basketball court. One state turning into another, just as the elm trees leafed in the spring, shed their seed, then dropped their leaves in the fall, finally succumbing to disease and being felled. These were the great cycles of life and death. As I looked at the photographs I had taken of, and in this place, I sensed the greatness of it. I understood the myths about it. For how can these cycles come to pass without the grand forces of nature acting upon them?

This is where the series originates. This is the story I have tried to tell in my images.

INTO THE MAGIC SPACE reproduces 22 photo-based works from the two collections, Into the Magic Space and The House Falls Into Meadow From the Meadow Rises a Forest. The book is available from or, directly from Curious Matter.

Arthur Bruso © 2009

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