Arts and Culture

Fringe Review: Exploring 1000 Doors

Posted on: Mon 1 Mar 2021

One of the highlights featuring at this year’s Garden of Unearthly Delights as part of the Fringe Festival is a unique, creative installation 1000 Doors – Door Within A Door. The piece comes with a certain sense of allure and has proved a popular option with Fringe-goers so far. Festival City’s Emma Wotzke reviews 1000 Doors – Door Within A Door.

Presented by Buxton-Walker and created by Melbourne-based artists from behind House of Mirrors – Christian Wagstaff and Keith Courtney take 1000 Doors – Door Within A Door a step further into the more ominous offering a uniquely immersive door-labyrinth.

Wagstaff and Courtney combine their extensive background in the arts, design and creative collaboration to push the boundaries from the fun, old fashioned, sideshow mirror-experience to the darker edge of art.

This deeply thought-provoking installation brings with it a series of beginnings and ends, with only one rule: that you must close each door behind you.

Amongst the shadowy infrastructure, each door comes with its own story from the outside world and carries with it a portal into another. The aesthetic is carefully crafted by the artists to match sounds and smells within, evoking a dance between mystery and curiosity. Grime bleeds down surfaces giving way to the tatters of old wallpaper and a sense of decay. A lonesome crucifix hangs amongst the recital of religious scripture. A dim lamp in a dark corridor beckons towards the ringing of a telephone in the distance.

Although 1000 Doors presents with more subtlety than a haunted house it is the finer nuances that masterfully execute the tug of war between creepy and reminiscent. Old memories are revived amongst the musty smells and worn edges of the spaces with in. A radiogram resonates the nostalgic percussions of wartime while aged black and white photos scatter the floors inspiring an eerie feeling of abandon; the lost and forgotten.

Through the twists and turns of the artistic physicality of this eerie environment, Wagstaff and Courtney delve beyond the aesthetic into a deep exploration of the conceptual, highlighting the sentiment of space and transition. The door can present both debilitating fear or unbridled possibility, entrapment or opportunity and 1000 Doors is a marked reminder that the mind plays the strongest force of all.

I would love to take this alluring experience even further by touring the corridors 1000 Doors in a desolate field on a dark, stormy night. When faced with experiences such as these, where would the doors in your mind lead? 

1000 Doors – Door Within A Door remains open at the Garden of Unearthly Delights until 21 March.

Produced by Emma Wotzke

Image supplied by Christian Wagstaff

Festival City

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