Jeremy Blake’s haunting Winchester trilogy explores the history of the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California. In the late 1800s, Sarah Winchester, heiress of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, began to turn her eight-bedroom home into a sprawling mansion. Over the course of thirty-six years, Winchester hired construction workers to continually build over a hundred rooms, miles of hallways, and stairs leading to nowhere. Rumors swelled and many believed that Winchester—after losing her child and husband at an early age—was cursed and the seemingly never-ending construction project was the only way to appease the spirits of those killed by Winchester rifles. Blake layers archival photographs, digital animations, ink drawings, frame-by-frame retouching, and an ominous score to, “provide an abstract or emotional tour – not so much of the architecture, but of some of the more fearful chambers of Sarah Winchester’s mind.”
Organized by Christian Wurst, Curatorial Assistant, Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs, Blanton Museum of Art
Jeremy Blake, Winchester (still), from the series Winchester, 2002, digital animation with sound, 18 minutes, Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Partial and pledged gift of Jeanne and Michael Klein. Copyright and Courtesy Jeremy Blake Estate.