In his first solo exhibition on the west coast, Brooklyn-based artist Daniel Arsham presents three bodies of works in the fall, the ball, and the wall. Shifting between sculpture, painting, and installation art, the works included demonstrate the diversity of Arsham’s ideas, while each enacting the subtle theatricality which has come to characterize his practice. Arsham has been identified by many sources as a rising star in the art world following his high-profile collaborations with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company choreographer Jonas Bokaer, and fashion designer Hedi Slimane. His works shift our perceptions of space, time, and the basic scientific tenants which order our embodied experience. Soft folds of fabric emerge from hard, flat walls; drips seem to slow down time and defy their natural gravitational pull; paintings confuse and distort scale.
Daniel Arsham, Hiding Figure (2011). Via DesignBoom.
the fall, the ball, and the wall brings together works from a nearly five year period in which Arsham has experimented with scale and media. “The ball” references Pixel Cloud (2010), a piece that was used in the sets for Merce Cunningham’s final performances and consists of three-dimensional hanging sculptures, based on pixels of a hyper-magnified photograph of a cloud formation. With approximately 2000 plastic balls in in a range of grays suspended in space, the piece zooms into a virtually invisible space, flipping expectations through a massive shift in scale.
“The wall” refers to the sculptural works that emerge from the gallery walls, turning hard into soft. In the case of Hidden Figure (2011), the curtain conveys the presence of a body’s absence through the inclusion of work boots, as well as the meticulous positioning of the fabric to indicate the specificity of a particular body. On a freestanding wall oozes Big Drip (2011), folds spill out of a mail box slot in mail slot (2008), and drips emerge from but also subsume a ventilation grating in vent anomaly (a) (2006).
Daniel Arsham, Big Drip (2011). Via DesignBoom.
The final piece of this puzzle is the paintings that place language in urban architectural space, conflating the small space of textual pictograms with the monumental scale of a metropolitan city block. Words such as “want,” “okay,” and “oops” fold seamlessly into the grid of buildings. In Untitled (2009), for example, “want” becomes a parking structure, suggesting that perhaps the space is a site to park our desires (our wants), or conversely, pointing to the consumer desire that creates the need for such structures.
- M. Hoetger