Thursday, January 21, 2010

New Museum: Urs Fischer

Thursday I visited the New Museum in New York with a friend I had just made at my interview at ITP. The Urs Fischer exhibit was "a series of immersive installations and hallucinatory environments. " True to the description, I found it to be entirely sensually pleasing. Exceptionally experiential in its use of space and tactile in its material, I thought it also managed to tie into the "real world" of marketing, the experience of products, design and manufacturing.

The second floor installation of mirrored boxes with giant prints of objects on their surface captured the sense of desire and illusion generated by the ads they seemed to imitate. Larger and more vivid than life, I wanted to touch them. Wandering among them as in a strange garden was certainly "hallucinatory" and open to an array of meanings.

The third floor gooey melting purple piano continued this tactility of medium. It looked like purple taffy, askew and distorted but perfectly detailed. The room had richly colored but subdued wall paper going all the way up, mostly a desaturated burnt umber-mars violet but which shifted at the top to different colors in the light, huge. As a background it made everything else in the room pop and put me inside the installation. It made me feel like everyone else was part of the installation, too: the blonde girl carefully photographing the suspended croissant and her hipster friend watching her, like they'd been arranged there as well. I anticipated something from them, and myself.

The fourth floor had what looked at first like metallic clouds, like nebulous silver Vaseline, but which were in fact giant sculptures of cast aluminum. They were beautiful in themselves, but I thought they were all about how they were made: some American artist simply squeezed some wet clay in his hand, scanned it, and sent it off to China for people there to manufacture, then had it shipped back to the U.S.

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