Culture Rover

#135 - Certain Uncertainty

"I got a funny feeling / They've got plastic in the afterlife" - Beck, "Cyanide Breathmint"

In an Isa Genzken sculpture, a mod plastic chair tumbles through the air, its lurid purples and pinks caught in the act of the universe in motion. So too, in Bjorn Dahlem's pieces, the cosmos spins out random objects -- picnic baskets, hockey sticks, vacuum cleaners -- in a centripedal act of creation (or is it destruction?).

There is a mysticism in this work, but of an odd sort. It remakes the experience of stewing in kitsch into something profound.

In these sculptures, not only is everyday life overwhelmed by junk, but so too is the spiritual realm. The celestial spheres are stuffed with mass-produced commodities and appliances, weird jumbles of crap.

We are in the kitchen of God, which resembles a Food Network set. The athanor, the Furnace of Arcana, the cosmic oven, is coated in plastic and Teflon.

The mixer, the blender, the yeast-filled dough, the multiplying amount of commodified objects seem to explode in one giant big boom of rebirth. An order is born from the alchemical permutations of chaotic disturbance.

See The Uncertainty of Objects and Ideas: Recent Sculpture at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.

23 December 2006

Back to #134

Go to #136