Following the practice of traditional department stores that take their name from their founder, Jamie Isenstein‘s exhibition is entitled “Isenstein’s”, along the lines of Macy’s in New York City, where he lives, or Karstadt in Berlin. As might be expected of an exhibition named in the tradition of a store whose namesake is a person, the artworks in the exhibition consider the body within the world of commerce; how this world shapes our bodies and our sense of our selves, and how our experience of our bodies informs the world of commerce. “We are what we buy.”
In the exhibition, hosted by Meyer Riegger, death is a spectre that hangs over commodities as they sit in stores waiting to be purchased. Fashion and innovation create this condition. In their continual desire for the new, fashion and innovation are always sweeping away the old. As a result, while for sale, but more acutely the moment objects are sold, they begin to become outmoded and obsolete. Therefore these objects become metaphors for the body and its attendant mortality.
Here, objects have their own life process. They change and grow old and otherwise reflect on the futility of attempting to be fashionable, to cheat death. Retail store displays and various advertising formats are used throughout the exhibition as frameworks for exploring these ideas. The body’s relationship to artifice through commerce is another theme within the exhibition. As products combine with the body, the line between what is natural and artificial is increasingly blurred.