Daniel Arsham (b. 1980, Cleveland) creates an excavation trench in the gallery’s floor holding thousands of calcified artifacts – a muted cacophony of 20th century media devices.
Mounds of blanched and brittle boom boxes, electric guitars, SLR cameras, Blackberries, Nintendo controllers, VHS tapes, Walkmans, film projectors, portable televisions, and the like are rendered in crystal, volcanic ash, and other minerals. To create the site, Arsham dug an excavation trench 25 feet in diameter into the concrete floor of the gallery and filled it with his new-old sculptures. They’re arranged on a color gradient the objects on the perimeter are black, and then get lighter and lighter towards the center.
Each object individually is an intriguing sculptural study, but when amassed in a giant pile, the overall effect is beautifully eerie, with a post-apocalyptic sheen, a pile of your childhood toys cast in ash. The trench presents the recent past as archeology, a world of technological objects whose obsolescence was built into their design, preserved like petrified wood or the figures of Pompeii.
Rather than regard these objects as individual sculptures, the artist presents them as a mass below our feet, producing a new narrative of production, history, and discovery.
Arsham is known for his sculptural and architectural works, which warp or destabilize recognizable structures and forms. As a child, the artist survived Hurricane Andrew huddled in a closet of his family’s Miami home. The wreckage he encountered in the storm’s aftermath had a profound impact on his perception of architectural spaces and contemporary objects, which melt and crumble in his installations, leaving the viewer with the impression that a millennium has passed in an instant.
Welcome to the Future has been selected for the Art Basel Crowdfunding Initiative, a partnership with Kickstarter to support non-profit visual arts organizations worldwide.
Arsham‘s exhibition presents a new set of challenges — working with structural engineers on safely removing a large portion of the gallery’s floor, and replacing it after the show closes — but we are committed to seeing the artist’s dream project completed. Today, the campaign is Kickstarter’s Project of the Day; since it’s launch on November 4, the campaign has successfully raised more that 50% of its goal. To learn more and see the complete list of rewards, visit Kickstarter page.