Comprised of four distinct parts, the exhibition explores different aspects of Dahan’s recent obsession with cobblestones. The gallery rooms, including the stairway, become the host to four different propositions addressing the idea of urban erosion. “Interstice” continues the artist’s exploration of visible and semiotic deformations, using the city’s landscape as both a medium and a source of inspiration for his work.
On the gallery’s main floor hang eight sculptures casted from molds created by recording actual potholes located in the artist’s childhood street in Paris. Potholes are the result of the combined action of time, weather and cars. They are apparent signs of infrastructure sedimentation as the city’s past is openly displayed like a Freudian slip. Entitled “Polis Parapraxis”, these sculptures were made with plaster, authentic pedestrian crossing nails, and ultramarine blue acrylic paint randomly filling the gaps in-between cobblestones.
The stairway leading to the two underground rooms of the gallery, filled with blue light, functions as an interstice, making the exhibition itself a medium while echoing the works displayed.
In the gallery’s first basement, a sculptural collage bears the name: “To have done with the judgement of Robert Smithson”. This work is in direct dialogue with Smithson’s 1967 text “A tour of the monument of Passaic, New Jersey,” which explores the concept of entropy and uses parody of reportage as its medium. The collage includes an original three thousand-word hand written text, eight photographs, and a mirror as Dahan followed Smithson’s experience in his birth town by travelling to the small Jersey suburb. The new version respects the original magazine’s layout and appearance while creating a new narrative.
Then, two sculptures explore Smithson’s use of material through his “Non-Site” installations. The first mixes actual cobblestones extracted from a New York City street and sand taken from the sandbox where Dahan used to play as a child. The second sculpture mixes cobblestones from the Parisian street he grew up in and sand taken from Passaic’s main park. Finally, four photographs document another urban sedimentation phenomenon. They capture the image of trees planted hundred of years ago in New York’s streets that have overgrown the cobblestone lining with which they were surrounded. These trees have literally engulfed the cobblestones with their roots, making them a part of their organic form.
In the last room, located precisely under White Horse Street, is “Off the beaten tracks”, a site specific installation made from more than five hundred plaster sculptures casted from one New York cobblestone paving the entire floor. This new road under the real road has a form that belongs to another city. It is still a road though, but one that leads to nowhere and has neither beginning nor end besides the two walls that limit it.