Knock on Wood was commissioned in 2006 as part of Dwelling, an exhibition funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional funding provided by the Boston Foundation for Architecture and individual donors.
Knock On Wood
Red cedar, brass, iron
Andrea Thompson has mounted antique doorknockers on a series of posts 4
to 7 feet tall. Each post has a distinct resonant tone. The simple ritual of knocking
builds a bridge between past and present, presence and absence, ourselves
and those who have been here before us.
The front door of a house marks a specific threshold: the boundary between
our loved ones, within, and ourselves waiting outside. We knock, making
the declaration: I am here, Ive come to see you. When we think of
burial sites as final dwellings, however, we know that our friends will
not answer our call. Yet we come here nevertheless, where our knock is answered
only by the gentle silence of the landscape. Thus the unopenable door is
here replaced with a sounding-box, a resonant voice set among living trees.
The phrase knock on wood comes from the superstition that spirits
live in trees and can be awakened with a knock, to listen as we make a wish.
In this sculpture the knock becomes not a request to enter, but simply a
request to be heard we bring our memories and longing to the cemetery,
and ask the spirit of the place to bear witness.
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