Pippy Houldsworth Gallery is pleased to announce a new, site-specific project by Daniel Arsham, comprising a single wall-intervention in which a solitary figure will appear hidden behind the gallery walls. Following recent collaborations with Pharrell Williams and James Franco, this project will coincide with Arsham’s participation in Post Pop: East Meets West, a comprehensive survey show celebrating the legacy of Pop Art at Saatchi Gallery in London.
Challenging notions of materiality, Arsham plans to distort the gallery’s architecture. Enveloped within white drapery, it is unclear whether the figure behind the wall has been entrapped in plaster, or whether he is seeking refuge from an external force. Coercing materials to behave in unexpected ways, the artist’s intervention seeks to transcend the boundaries of the white cube by physically altering its framework.
Discussing his site-specific interventions, Arsham explains: ‘in all of these works, I alter something that everyone knows. I manipulate the surface of architecture or the material of it. Sometimes it’s a surface and sometimes it’s the depth of the wall. I’m always looking for various ways that I can transform these things. They stretch like fabric, sometimes appear to be eroding like a natural formation, creeping back into the architecture, and sometimes they appear to be melting. These different states of transition inspire my work. Oftentimes there are figures that interact with the architecture by wrapping themselves up in the walls or appear to be hiding behind the surface. They’re always doing so in very subtle way, which allows the viewer to believe that these things are actually happening, like the wall is stretching and could be eroding.’
Architecture has been an ongoing interest for the artist. In 2004, legendary choreographer Merce Cunningham invited Arsham to create the stage design for his work eyeSpace, following in the footsteps of Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, and Andy Warhol. Subsequently, Arsham toured with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company for performances in Australia, France and multiple locations in the United States.
Arsham has since developed an ongoing collaboration with Jonah Bokaer, a former dancer in Cunningham’s company. Their work stages interactions between Bokaer’s choreography and Arsham’s sculptural pieces. Recent projects include Study for Occupant, 2012, which was performed at the Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia; Théâtre de la Cité, Paris; Galerie Perrotin, Paris and New Museum, New York, culminating in a full performance of the piece at the Adrienne Arsht Center, Miami in 2013. A new performance is scheduled at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York for the end of 2015.