5-50 Gallery is pleased to present Amorphous Terrain 2, the second collaborative project by Andrew Erdos and Yasue Maetake. The artists point to the gallery’s location in the open construction site that is Long Island City, highlighting its place as a nexus of New York’s darwinian real estate forces. Amid drastic change at multiple scales, Erdos and Maetake focus on the makeup of the built environment and its constituent forms, emphasizing our bodily experience and sensorial relationship to the world’s natural and artificial registers. Time is another central feature of both artists’ practices. Whether seconds, years, or centuries, the durational role and transitory states of material life cycles inform and arise from the exhibition.
Architecture and its messy tectonic realities are produced through and comprise extractive economies, globalized supply chains, human labor, nonhuman components, and laws of physics, among other factors. From the construction, performance, and demolition of buildings or infrastructure to the creation of artworks, the attendant processes involve elemental substances, embodied energy, and chemical reactions like oxidation or corrosion. Erdos and Maetake privilege such organic matter and physical effects, dramatically harnessing and transforming them yet retaining a reverential approach to their intrinsic qualities. The two fluently mix industrial methods and traditional craftwork with techniques ranging from glass blowing to handmade paper-making.
The objects on display emerge from the city’s refuse, collected and recombined into an immersive temporary landscape. As scrapmongers they gather, fabricate, and manipulate a wide variety of raw and treated materials: safety glass, silicone adhesive, argon gas, epoxy resin, fibrous pulp, steel rebar, chicken wire, plumbing pipes, trapped carbon, jute rope, mulberry bark, anthracite, cane, silica, lead, and so on. Evoking the external support structures used in construction—for example, scaffolding, lifts, mesh, palettes, etc—as well as ecological references like mountain ranges and rock formations, the scenographic design foregrounds the artwork less as autonomous objects and more so as fragments related to larger bodies of work and the urban context. Amorphous Terrain 2 questions how humans modify the natural world in ways both detrimental and vitalizing. The show does not suggest didactic solutions but instead offers a variety of speculative aesthetics whereby ordinary resources and byproducts are transmuted into quiet marvels.