7th December 2019

Out shopping for Christmas and discovered a small exhibition of work by Daniel Arsham. This was of interest because of the materials he used

On investigation it seems this artist has an established practice inn making objects that are-

Daniel Arsham’s uchronic aesthetics revolves around his concept of fictional archaeology. Working in sculpture, architecture, drawing and film, he creates and crystallizes ambiguous in-between spaces or situations, and further stages what he refers to as future relics of the present. They are eroded casts of modern artifacts and contemporary human figures, which he expertly makes out of some geological material such as sand, selenite or volcanic ash for them to appear as if they had just been unearthed after being buried for ages. Always iconic, most of the objects that he turns into stone refer to the late 20th century or millennial era, when technological obsolescence unprecedentedly accelerated along with the digital dematerialization of our world. While the present, the future and the past poetically collide in his haunted yet playful visions between romanticism and pop art, Daniel Arsham also experiments with the timelessness of certain symbols and gestures across cultures.”

The Nam June Paik exhibition was a reminder that time and technology are at the forefront of memory. Paik’s work was a study in the history of 20th century technology. His pioneering work became reality when MTV started in the 80’s, and it was fun to think that he made this art before we knew the technological possibilities. I am sure he would be amazed to see what we take for granted now. His television robots, “Robot-K456”, 1964, are humorous and yet prophetic as we live our lives dominated by TV, although this has shifted again, and our lives are dominated by screens and YouTube streams. I’m sure he would have something to say about this. His “TV Buddha” 1974 is a study on meditation and it’s never ending struggle to escape the physical world, stuck in a meditation of itself. I had never heard of the Fluxus Movement until today. It makes sense to me now that I have read more on it. And his collaboration with other artists, John Cage, Charlotte Moorman and Joseph Beuys was another revelation. I particularly liked the immersive video shown here for the first time since the 1993 Venice Biennale. A collage of new footage and samples from old works it forms a fitting end to the exhibition as a means of summarising his artistic career.

It is a new way of looking at the objects we take for granted, as if they are dug out of the earth or fossilised. I quite like these, and I am intrigued by the materials.