Fridman Gallery is honored to present Light Shop, Jan Tichy’s second solo exhibition with the gallery. Tichy's new works — photograms, sculpted neons, video with sound, and his signature time-based light installation — explore the local history of the Bowery Lighting District in relationship to the commodification of light and the resulting light pollution.
Bowery Prints is a suite of ten assemblages of neon sculptures and photograms on silver halide paper, made with glass objects that the artist collected from the ten lighting stores that remain on the Bowery.
In the gallery’s main room, a site-specific light projection, Installation no.38, animates a neon sculpture, exploring both the formal relationship of specific space to time and light, and the social and ecological implications of what is visible and what is left unseen.
Bowery Raw, presented in the gallery’s downstairs media room, is a two-channel video installation composed of photographs documenting a moment in the lifetime of the Lighting District. The photographs are made audible by translating the underlying RAW image files into sound. The work recalls the landmark 1937 exhibition and book Changing New York by Berenice Abbott, who documented the changing city and later in her career, the formal aspects of materialization of light.
In contrast to Tichy’s photographic works, which examine collection of light, and video projections which are based on reproduction of light, the new neon sculptures can be understood as the artistic means by which he creates and shapes physical light with his own hands and breath.
As a whole, the exhibition acknowledges the Lighting District’s place in New York City’s cultural history and connects the district’s impending disappearance with broader “politics of light”, a term Tichy uses to describe shadowy socioeconomic conditions fueling gentrification and inequality.