THE POWER OF NOSTALGIA BY CONFLATING PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE. DANIEL ARSHAM AT PERROTIN IN NEW YORK.
Amid the hustle of New York City lies a space where the present collides with relic-like representations of the past – the artworks of Daniel Arsham. Born in Cleveland in 1980 and nurtured in the artistic atmosphere of Miami’s Design and Architecture High School, Arsham’s journey saw a significant uplift upon his receipt of the Gelman Trust Fellowship Award at The Cooper Union.
The exhibition at Perrotin, marking twenty years of collaboration with Emmanuel Perrotin, unfolds Arsham’s multifaceted practice. His distinct style of eroding classical statues to unveil crystallized interiors, as observed at Tiffany’s flagship store on Fifth Avenue, underscores an intricate dance between deterioration and rebirth, where glory and decay coexist as intimate companions.
Installation view of ’20 Years’ by Daniel Arsham. Perrotin New York, 2023. Courtesy of the artist and Perrotin.
Arsham’s global influence is marked by collaborations that echo aesthetic sophistication and innovative execution, bearing the signature of his engagements with renowned figures like Pharrell Williams, Hedi Slimane, and luxury brands such as Dior and Porsche. The eroded watches and veiled poems, grand in scale yet intimate in their resonance, offer a visual discourse where time is both an architectural and emotional edifice.
During my encounter with the work of Daniel Arsham at the New York exhibition, the compelling pulse of nostalgia was palpable. This isn’t the sweet, sentimental longing of yesterday but a formidable engagement with the ephemeral nature of human accomplishments. Arsham’s eroded artifacts, be it the iconic cars or the legendary Star Wars figures, transform into archaeological narratives of a society persistently facing majestic erosion.
Daniel Arsham, ‘Darth Vader: Amethyst Crystallized Bust’, 2023
Arsham’s evolution from the subtle architectural manipulations of his early career to his present larger-than-life creative interventions illuminates an artist engaged in a ceaseless dialogue with time. Each piece, from the layered classical antiquities to the eroded, contemporary cultural artifacts, narrates a story entrenched as much in its past grandeur as in its unveiled future. Arsham’s crystals, emerging from the depths, signify that decay isn’t a conclusion but an exquisite revelation of an obscured, perhaps more genuine, existence.
Stepping into the realm of Arsham’s exhibition is akin to embarking on a sensorial odyssey where artistry transcends visual appreciation, morphing into a symphony of sensations that engage the soul. Each piece, echoing the silent stories of epochs long past, invites the observer into a dance of shadows and light, erosion and revelation. The ambient lighting casts ethereal glows on the crystallized interiors, and the shadows whisper the untold narratives of bygone eras.
Daniel Arsham, ‘She’s in Some Far Off Land’, 2023
Every erosion, every unveiled crystal, is a sonnet of silent melodies echoing the relentless yet harmonious passage of time. Visitors are not mere observers but participants in this celestial dance, where each step forward is a descent into the depths of introspection, and every glance is a journey through the corridors of time.
Open to the public, the exhibition is housed at Perrotin until October 14, 2023. A visit not only promises a visual extravaganza but an intimate confrontation with the eroded yet magnificently unveiled facets of existence – a narrative journey echoing the path of an artist who has transformed the passage of time into a canvas of his iconic narrative.
WORDS KEVIN FORSTER
PHOTOS ABHISHEK SINGH
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Daniel Arsham, ‘Pulling Falling Clock’, 2023; ‘Selenite Eroded Wrist Watch 5’, 2023; ‘Extruded Hand with Game Controller’, 2023. Please note the colors in the photos may not accurately represent the true colors of the artworks. The photos have been processed for this publication.