Born in 1980 in Cleveland Ohio, USA
Lives and works in New York, USA

Daniel ARSHAM

DANIEL ARSHAM

Born in 1980 in Cleveland Ohio, USA
Lives and works in New York and Miami, USA


SOLO SHOWS :

2017
- Solo Museum Exhibition, High Museum, Atlanta, GA

2016
- Solo Gallery Exhibition, Galerie Perrotin, New York, NY
- "My First Show in Japan, Year 2044", Nanzuka Gallery, Tokyo Japan
- "The Future Was Then", SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, GA
- "Moons and Music", Eden Rock Gallery, St. Barths, French West Indies

2015
- "The Future Was Written", Young Arts, Miami, FL
- "Fictional Archeology", Galerie Perrotin Hong Kong
- "Parades Móveis", Baro Galería, Sao Paulo, Brazil
- "Formless Figure Watermill Center", Watermill, NY
- "Remember the Future", Contemporary Art Center, Cincinnati, OH
- A Special Project for Leica, Leica Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

2014
- "Welcome to the Future", Locust Projects, Miami, FL
- Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, London, UK
- "The Future is always now", Galerie Perrotin, Paris
- "Volcanic Ash, Rusted Steel", Baro Galeria, Sao Paulo, Brazil
- "Kick the Tires and Light the Fires", OHWOW Gallery, Los Angeles, USA

2013
- "#FUTUREARCHIVE", Galerie Perrotin, Hong Kong, China
- "#FUTUREARCHIVE", Louis Vuitton exhibition space, Singapore (in collaboration with SOTA art school)
- "#TOMORROWPAST", Ron Mandos Gallery, Amsterdam
- "#RECOLLECTIONS", Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, London

2012
- "STORM", Galerie Perrotin, Paris
- "Reach Ruin", The Fabric Workshop Museum, Philadelphia, PA, USA
- Project at The Box, Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, London, UK
- Set design for "Curtain", a dance collaboration between Jonah Bokaer and David Hallberg, Festival d'Avignon, Sujets à Vif, Avignon, France
- "the fall, the ball and the wall", OHWOW Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, USA
- "Commemorative Marker" in collaboration with Snarkitecture, Marlins Ballpark, Miami, FL, USA

2011
- Set design for Merce Cunningham Dance Company's last performances, Park Avenue Armory, New York, NY, USA
- "Dig", in collaboration with OHWOW Gallery and Galerie Perrotin, Store Front for Art and Architecture, New York, NY, USA

2010
- "Alter", Galerie Perrotin, Miami, FL, USA
- "Animal Architecture" Galerie Perrotin, Paris, France
- "Avalanche ", set design for the performance of Merce Cunningham's company at Adrienne Arscht Center, Miami, FL, USA

2009
- Set design for Merce Cunningham Dance Company's Paris Performances, France

2008
- "Beacon/Miami at Bank of America tower", Miami Art Museum, Miami, FL, USA
- "The Undoing", Galerie Perrotin, Miami, FL, USA
- "Playground", Galerie Perrotin, Paris, France
- "Something Light", Ron Mandos Gallery, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

2007
- "Playground", Gertrude Street, Melbourne, Australia
- "Merce Cunningham: Dancing on the Cutting Edge Part II", MOCA at Goldman Warehouse, Miami, FL, USA
- "yeSpace", a collaboration with Merce Cunningham, The Miami Performing Arts Center, Miami, FL, USA

2006
- "Building Schmuilding", Galerie Perrotin, Miami, FL, USA

2005
- "Homesick", Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris



GROUP EXHIBITIONS :

2016
- Yichuan Biennial of Contemporary Art, Ningxia, China
- "The Human Condition", Los Angeles, CA
- "Shrines to Speed, Leila Heller Gallery", New York, NY

2015
- "Artistes et Architecture Dimensions Variables", Pavillon de l’Arsenal, Paris, France
- "Invento", OCA Museum, Sao Paulo, Brazil

2014
- "Post-Pop: East Meets West", Saatchi Gallery, London UK
- "Art in Embassies", US Embassy in London, England, UK
- "Resonance(s)," Maison Particuliere, Brussels
- "Shattered: Contemporary Sculpture in Glass", Frederik Meijer, Gardens and Sculpture Park, MI - "Creation contemporaine a New York", Musee d’Art Moderne, Saint Etienne, France

2013
- "Homebodies", Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago

2012
- "Next Wave Art", Brooklyn Academy of Music, NY, USA
- "Célébrations, Rêve de nature", Musée de Valence hors les murs, Valence, France
- "I'm Over Here Now", Richmond Center for the Visual Arts, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI, USA

2011
- "RECESS", set design and performance, in collaboration with Jonah Bokaer, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, MA, USA
- "Why Patterns", set design in collaboration with Snarkitecture, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, MA, USA
- "It Ain't Fair: Materialism", OHWOW Gallery, Miami, FL, USA
- "Flash: Light, Festival of Ideas for the New City", New Museum, New York, NY, USA
- "The Past is a Grotesque Animal, In Extenso", Clermont-Ferrand, France

2010
- "Look Again", Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA), Winston Salem, NC, USA
- "The Maginot Line", David Castillo Gallery, Miami, FL, USA
- "It Ain't Fair 2010", OHWOW Gallery, Miami, FL, USA
- "Memories of the Future", Sean Kelly Gallery, New York, NY, USA
- "REPLICA", set design and performance, MOCA, Miami, FL, USA
- "REPLICA", set design and performance, Musée d'Art Contemporain, Marseille, France
- "REPLICA", setd esign and performance, Hellenic Festival, Athens, Greece
- "Why Patterns", set design in collaboration with Snarkitecture, Rotterdamse Shouwburg, Rotterdam, the Netherlands

2009
- "Projections", Carré d'art de Nîmes, Nîmes, France
- "Heaven", 2nd Athens Biennale, Athens, Greece
- "Painting the Glass House: Artists Revisit Modern Architecture", curated by Jessica Hough & Monica R. Montagut, Mills College Art Museum, Oakland, CA, USA
- "On From Here", Guild and Greyshkul, New York, NY, USA
- "Luna Park", Alejandra von Hartz Gallery, Miami, FL, USA
- "Quand je serais grand", Galerie Jeanroch Dard, Paris, France
- "REPLICA", performance at IVAM in Frontiers of Time, curated by Bob Wilson, Valencia, Spain
- "REPLICA", performance, New Museum, New York, NY, USA

2008
- The Fireplace project, East Hampton, NY, USA
- "Thoughts on Democracy: Reintereriting Norman Rockwell's 'Four Freedoms' Posters", The Wolfsonian-FIU, Miami Beach, FL, USA
- "Reunion", The Fireplace Project, East Hampton, NY, USA
- "Painting the Glass House: Artists Revisit Modern Architecture", curated by Jessica Hough & Monica R. Montagut, Yale School for Architecture Gallery, New Haven, CT, USA
- "Painting the Glass House: Artists Revisit Modern Architecture," curated by Jessica Hough & Monica R. Montagut, The Aldrich Museum, Ridgefield, CT, USA

2007
- "Guild", curated by Daniel Arsham, Galerie Perrotin, Miami, FL, USA

2006
- "Fresh!", The Museum Of Glass, Seattle, WA, USA
- "Miami in Transition", Miami Art Museum, Miami, FL, USA

2005
- "Greater New York", P.S.1 Museum of Contemporary Art, Long Island, NY, USA
- "Wanderlust", Julia Friedman Gallery, New York, NY, USA

2004
- "Miami Nice", Galerie Perrotin, Paris, France
- "In Advance of a Broken Heart", (As part of SALT), The Wolfsonian Museum, Miami, FL, USA
- "Obituary", Placemaker, Miami, FL, USA
- "In Situ", The Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami, FL, USA
- "Ten Times the Space Between Night and Day", Guild and Greyshkul, New York, NY, USA
- "I am the Resurrection", Locust Projects, Miami, FL, USA
- "Remote Control", M&M Proyectos, San Juan, Puerto Rico

2003
- "Ever", Placemaker, Miami, FL, USA
- "Customized", Rocket Projects, Miami, FL, USA
- "Untitled, (A Sentimental Education)", Fredric Snitzer Gallery, Miami, FL, USA
- "Kiss Me Quick Before I Change my Mind", The House, Miami, FL, USA

2002
- "Meta", The House, Miami, FL, USA
- "NO SHOW", Fredric Snitzer Gallery, Coral Gables, FL, USA
- 1"5/Caliber", Barbara Gillman Gallery, Miami, FL, USA
- "Miami in Manhattan", Wooster Projects, New York, NY, USA

2001
- "The House at MoCA", curated by Bonnie Clearwater, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami, FL, USA
- "The Sears Building", curated by Robert Chambers, The House, Miami, FL, USA
- "Special Projects", Art in General, New York, NY, USA
- "Time in Space," The House, Miami, FL, USA


LECTURES :

2015
Cannes Lions 2015, Cannes France
IST. Fest, Istanbul ’74, Istanbul, Turkey
Summit Powder Mountain, Eden, UT
Contemporary Art Center, Cincinnati, OH

2014
Breakfast in the Park, Frost Art Museum, Miami, FL


AWARDS :

2003
- Recipient of the Gelman Trust Fellowship

Daniel Arsham - Merce Cunningham: Dancing on the cutting Edge, part 2

Daniel Arsham - Merce Cunningham: Dancing on the cutting Edge, part 2

Prints

56,87 €

Daniel Arsham - Monographie

Daniel Arsham - Monographie

Livres

27,49 €

Daniel Arsham - Fictional Archeology

Daniel Arsham - Fictional Archeology

Livres

30,33 €

Daniel Arsham - Easter Island Travel Book

Daniel Arsham - Easter Island Travel Book

Livres

42,65 €

Daniel Arsham

Daniel Arsham

Livres

27,49 €

Daniel Arsham - Poster

Daniel Arsham - Poster

multiple

  • out of stock
  • 2015, December
    TimeOut Hong Kong — 1 PAGE

  • 2015, November
    Numero China — 2 PAGES

  • 2015, November
    Prestige — 2 PAGES

  • 2015, October
    Art.Investment — 1 PAGE

  • 2015, September
    Ocula — 1 PAGE

The World According to Daniel Arsham

by Jeff Rian

In gouaches, sculptures, and conceptual objects Miami-bred artist, Daniel Arsham, synthesizes a future civilization, symbolized by its architecture, where a cold, entropic beauty empowers nature over culture, something like J.G. Ballard’s crystalline worlds, but where people’s lives can only be guessed at or wondered about from afar.
Meticulously painted, gouaches on Mylar recall modernist architectural drawings. White buildings, encrusted in saline icebergs, float in night seas, as in The M-House got lost and found itself floating in the sea, affecting salination [sic] levels in the North Atlantic, 2004. In his series, The Return, 2005, shards of staircases, piles of rectangular blocks, or rectilinear posts emerge like ghosts from leafy, green-blue overgrowth, as if a former catastrophe had subsided over the ages into a fragmented but purer world.
Chalk-white resin and cut-marble sculptures, and assembled models detail his highly aesthetic, hypothetical dystopia. Their style combines elements from organic art nouveau, F. L. Wright’s architectural drawings, art deco façades, surrealist dreamscapes, minimalism’s iconic transformation of building supplies, pop art’s combines and collages of pictures, and of course everything information technology can offer. Black and translucent paper and blue-plastic drop cloths are cut and layered into art nouveau panels. Sections of modernist buildings are encrusted in floating islands of white made in resin. Resin stalagmites and stalactites grow out of the ceiling and floor. Negative incisions are roundly cut into wall corners, as if eaten into them. In Pinch, 2003, miniature escalators climb to nowhere; in Regret, from the same year, a table-size parking terrace is built in the shape of its title; a So-Cal Schindler bungalow is modeled from Sheetrock and aluminum support studs; a truncated art deco cinema marquee falls over stalagmite heaps.
Modernism resides in these works like a ghost from an ancient history; its architecture is frozen in time. Modernism’s offspring, expressionism, pop, minimalism, and conceptual art—whose very names summon obsessions with psychological gesture, the commercially new, the objectively serious, and the conceptually imagined—have aged. Yet they convey the evolutionary code for his namelessly contemporary architectural mutations, his mixing of media and materials, and his visual drama, which is more like cinema or TV than modernist objects’ and their strict specificity.
Arsham’s stylistic multi-directionality might even seem erratic in modernist terms, and too historically divergent from pop, minimalism, and conceptual art. At the very least he presents warier edifices than, say, Gordon Matta-Clark’s Freudian cuttings. And his objects are far more estranged from human contact than, say, John McCracken’s planks and monoliths, which evoke an ethereal, extra-worldly intelligence, not an entire arbitrary world. But a different precedent is also offered in these vaster projected, post-postmodern, movie objects, and the cosmos they inhabit—where cosmic nature reigns supreme over Earth and us.
The blue-green world could also be viewed as a projection of progress following cataclysm. Modern art lost its renascent vigor in catastrophic wars. Artists turned psychologically inward as a result. Expressionists searched for art’s specially coded subject matter in its materials and their gestures. Pop art grew out of a postwar domestic economy that had turned nationalist politics into global commerce, antiquated the folk, and invented the nameless masses. The world became increasingly crowded and expensive. Apocalypse was envisioned in material obliteration and nuclear winter. Natural disorder increasingly threatened, the atmosphere became ill. But art proliferated by diffusing into the media like probes on missions in space.
In F. L. Wright’s amber-tinted architectural drawings, structures preside over the natural environments they respect. Ashram imbues his worldview with a futuristic aesthetic of a post-cataclysmic calm, a watery cosmos adrift from history. At the same time, the style represents decisions made in terms of art’s necessary adaptation.
The gouaches reminded me of Miles Davis’s ballad, “Blue in Green,” from his landmark 1959 recording, Kind of Blue, where mode replaced melody and the improvisations were based on color-like modulations. The ballad turns around bluesy dominant and softer, “greener,” melodic-minor modes, speeding up during the improvisation, but never managing the standard turn-around ending. Its ending was forced. Ashram’s gouaches and objects exhibit an odd precariousness, something like Davis’s ballad, where means don’t imply ends because of a stylistic decision and a change of attitude. Ashram’s modal adaptation seems, to me, based on modal aesthetics and different blends of familiar information, such as uninhabited architecture set in shades of white, blue, black, and green.
Modern and postmodern art retained authority over objects and images through established stylistic affinities. In pop, minimalism, conceptual, and even land art, a world outlook was based on such a relationship to objects and to nature, which was referred to as the sublime, and which entwined power and beauty in an aesthetic of objective disinterestedness. Even wary scientific modernists like Robert Smithson, who wanted to recover ravaged industrial parks, held onto a modernist view of the specificity of objects, but with a more remote sense of time and history.
In Arsham’s strangely beautiful, hypothetical world objects have lost their physical domination, but not their aesthetic power. The guts and visceral engines of industry are imagined away, buried in his aesthetic transmutation. Remaining is a resplendent stylistic modality and a beautifully forced end to be contemplated.

Interview between Daniel Arsham and Merce Cunningham

DA: The first thing that I wanted to talk about was chance and expectation in chance. For example, at a craps table where people are rolling dice and they’re all wanting to have this particular number thrown. Even the other night after I rolled the dice for the performance, people knew that if I rolled an odd that Sigur Rós would play first. All these people really wanted an odd, and then odd came. And I wonder, in our collaboration there was so little direct talking about specifics whether there’s this expectation where it causes things to work in a certain way.

MC: I don’t think that way in working because I want not a particular result but rather I want to open the possibilities to various results and no one is particularly better. The thing that does come up sometimes is something that turns out to be easy, surprisingly so because I thought it was going to be complex and for some reason it turns out to be quite simple to do. On the other hand you get something with a number of complex things in it. For example, if you’re dealing with three dancers all in different places and through the chance procedure it comes up that they are to arrive and be together and then you ask about the time, well, do they get there together or are they separate or if they are separate, how they are separate. In other words, the various kinds of possibilities. And sometimes something comes up where you have to get three people who are quite separate from each other in this space and they all have to arrive. You have been given the possibility of their arriving at a certain point, and each of them are doing different phrases. It could take longer for this person to do this phrase to get from here to here so you have to figure out a way that you can get them to do that phrase faster. It sets up a problem for you which you attempt to solve and not just decide you’re not going to use it. Because I’ve found in working this way that if I try to solve it rather than think “it won't work”, there’s always a way to do it. It may not be exactly the way that came up but something else comes up that shows you, opens your eye to another kind of thinking.

DA: Its funny when we stared doing this project, a few people had asked me how you can determine success or failure with a project like this…

MC: (laughs) You don’t determine it.

DA: I said, “Inevitably it’s always a failure because it gives you the opportunity to do something else.”

MC: And in that sense it’s always a success. Because it moves you further.

DA: This idea, especially with your projects, that the dances are never the same twice because of the chance procedure. With the sound and the choreography and the set, the only thing you have to relate it to is another performance and it's never going to be exactly the same.

MC: So you can't say that one is good or bad or better or worse. Just stage space makes a difference in any given piece. Say the next stage could be half as big as this one and you put the same thing in it. It means that certain timings are shifted not because you chose it, but by accepting this way you have to think another way.

DA: Its funny how that space is directly influencing the timing of the dance.

MC: Well yes, but your daily life does that; you have to get from here to here and you have ten minutes so that day you have to go very fast. But say it's another day and you're not worried about how long it takes so you stop and look in store windows. And it just changes according to what your need is or, in this case, whatever has come up with the chance procedure. You try to stick to it but you know full well that the same thing happens in the music not perhaps to this great a degree but in a way it does for them. They may be working with particular electronic arrangements which when they get to a new situation can't be set up in the same way because what’s provided is not the same kind of equipment so they adjust, naturally.

DA: When I heard the Radiohead portion of "Split Sides" the other night, there was this part where there's dialogue. I asked someone about it and they said that it was actually a live pick-up from the original performance. So, they really brought the chance procedure into the score. But it was so serendipitous that what they happened to find on the radio was a preacher. Really interesting.

Daniel Arsham’s analogous ruins

by Martine Bouchier

Daniel Arsham’s art is an enigma that is resolved through contact with an exterior on which he draws for inspiration. By incorporating various aesthetic fields like landscape and architecture into the domain of art, he demonstrates how art wields power over other fields.

The means used belong exclusively to art—landscape painting, the chiseling and carving of sculpture, representation and collage. And despite the close relationship Arsham maintains with architecture and landscape, he always maintains a certain distance, thus ensuring a kind of continuity between his art and more traditional forms. We are witnessing a process in which art remains within its limitations, its codes, its mediums, and production and fabrication spaces. Arsham doesn’t venture into the landscape, nor does he intervene in terms of architecture. Instead, he senses, then harnesses the outdoors and brings it into his own personal venues of expression. He borrows from architecture and landscape as did, according to Japanese tradition, those who designed gardens and created the impression of expanding space by incorporating a faraway perspective, a temple, a mountain or a tree.

Architecture is taken to task, a wall assaulted by an electric saw, a section of a facade ripped out and overturned ; a beam whose support function is blown to smithereens when the structural continuity between ceiling and floor is eliminated. Then there’s the onslaught on a paradigm of the Modernist Movement—Le Corbusier’s Couvent de la Tourette— which is taken out of context from its original landscape and repositioned in a iconic mountaineous setting. This repositioning is a defience to the “Law of Ripolin (whitewash),” a text in which Le Corbusier appealed for the universal use of white, synonymous with simplicity, truth and purity—three notions that lie in opposition to the simulation of reality embodied by the “decor hiding all stains and all the defects and flaws.”

In adopting this approach, Arsham sees the schism as the crucial cog in his relationship to architecture—a relationship initially based on attraction, and then on repulsion. He attracts, captures, and integrates architectural constituents, then gradually pulls away by staging a kind of destruction. Through upheaval, intentional erosion and engulfment by a luxuriant nature reasserting its supremacy, the collapse of structures that have been ingeniously constructed highlights the triumph of the forces of art over architectural rationality. Art defies the cohesion of the architectonic structure when a column splits in two; defies the integrity of its image when an entire section of a facade collapses ; defies the continutity of the layout when unity of volume fragments in the set Arsham designed for Merce Cuningham.

Ensconced in vegetal proliferation, the “architectones” trigger aesthetic emotions brought on by classical ruins, such as melancholy, or a certain notion of the sublime borne by the impression of an impassive invasion, by nature’s slow and gradual labor. But most striking is the apparent longevity of architectonic forms, of geometry, of immaculate white. We see a ruin, but there is no erosion ; a ruin without the violence of contemporary destructive phenomena, whether natural or intentional. For evidently, these works coexist with the everyday tragedies imposed by the violence of terrorism, wars, natural catastrophes, urban development of major cities. But here everythings exudes a sense of slowness, the absence of conflict, of peace.

So it is definitely in this way that Arsham lays down the contours of a politico-cultural context that finds, in the forms created, a visual echo imitating, underscoring and exaggerating reality, even if indirectly.

Martine Bouchier is an architect, professor of the aesthetics of visual arts at the Paris-Val de Seine architecture school, researcher at LOUEST (cnrs n°7145) and author of two works on the relationship between art and architecture : Lumière(s), regards singuliers sur l’art et l’architecture, Brussels, Editions Ousia, 2002 and L’art n’est pas l’architecture, hiérarchie, fusion, destruction », Edition Archibooks, 2006.

"The Undoing"

by Jordan Hruska

Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin’s gallery in Miami entryway is an unlikely sculpture of a door rendered at a reduced scale by Daniel Arsham for his show, The Undoing. Apart from its small size, it looks like it could be the entrance to a 19th century Brooklyn row house. One’s curiosity is further piqued by the absence of a knob and the erasure of other typical functional signifiers. Push on the white wall surrounding it, and functionalism of a different kind is summoned when the entire architectural element pivots.
Thoughts of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland come to mind, but without direct citation, Arsham labors on this portal’s collapse of space and time. These variables become manifest when you turn to see that the antiquated mahogany door is, on the other side, a steel frame double door with fogged glass, proper for any 21st century public building corridor.
This flipping of novelties disassembles any spatial containment of tradition or nature, per se, and the interstitial time spent “in between” the doors, one old, the other contemporary – is both dense and ostensible. And the promiscuity ensues: the missing doorknob is suspended on an opposing gallery wall – spinning maddeningly, the letter slot is on the other side of the room – sucking in folds of white drywall (the gallery’s patented spatial continuum), a small figure is somehow crawling through drywall folds, and in one corner, the wall has in fact, tied itself together.
The vehicle of modernism is the magician here, known for shifting the staid subjective logic and aesthetics of the past into more objective, right-angled ideals at lightning speed. Like the rationalist artists of De Stijl, Arsham travels from subjectivity to universality, but unlike those over-determined Dutch Calvinists, he doesn’t strive to effect any utopian end result and instead, investigates the phenomenological transportation itself in a fantastical celebration of the event. So, the gallery’s architecture is warped and hewn by Arsham as if it were Einstein’s fourth dimension where the wiles of nature are not eschewed, but burned onto its enduring white medium in the shape of ivy forms, as with Burnt Vines 1.
More traditionally, the walls also accommodate Arsham’s gouache drawings on Mylar, some of which turn the aforementioned dichotomy on its head. In these works, cubes and plinths float in mythical configurations, illuminated at times, as if on stage, with trees looming large, silent and unified almost in background silhouette. These geometric forms’ complexity is evinced in the hazard of their private suspension among one another for a communal theatre of a forest skyline at dusk. Thus, what is thought to be “absolute,” as in the case of the forms, seems instead dynamic, and nature’s tangled burdens become eradicated in an almost two-dimensional harmony. And without any allies, Arsham lets us loose between these poles of rationalization and chaos in a mysterious liminal zone that animates the absurdity of both.

"Remember The Future"

by Steven Matijcio

There is an assertive, almost intractable immediacy to the work of Daniel Arsham. It arrests our eyes and confronts our bodies through an array of lifelike forms, elemental materials and architectural interventions. His objects, figures and engineering oddities push into what is purportedly "our" space; implicitly, but insistently demanding attention – even as their intention remains comparatively unclear. And yet it is in this engagement, in the acceptance of Arsham's demure invitation offered in and through his work, that a visceral absence asserts itself as strongly as that which is physically present. Take as an example Hooded Figure (2015), where only half of the title’s suggested content stands before us. A potent synthesis of 'there' and 'not there' animates this mysteriously draped figure as it stretches the skin of the gallery space – returning the body in/to the otherwise clean geometry of these white walls. And just like the Invisible Man is revealed in movies by tossing a blanket over his elusive body, our cognition of Arsham's cloaked forms pivots upon the imaginary insertion of the missing body into this visual equation. These ghostly abstractions assume meaning because we sense, rather than see the person they conceal. In turn, the theatrical drapery expands our interpretation of this figure in time, thickening the present with concurrent evocations of both future and past. Pooling fabric and dramatic folds span multiple narratives at once – suggesting a shroud and life lost, at the same time
they speak to the fervent anticipation that accompanies a cloaked prize, grandly revealed in a flash of showmanship and spectacle. At this nexus – where both histories and hunches congregate behind Arsham's veil of suggestion – the artist gives ghosts an unnerving, but ultimately insightful footprint.

From natural disasters to race riots, the aftermath of most life-altering events lingers exponentially longer than the event itself – seeping deep into the intangible tissue known as trauma and trace. In a now well-known flashpoint of Arsham's personal history, we learn that as a child he and his family barely survived Hurricane Andrew as the storm ripped through their Miami home in 1992. Huddled in a closet as walls collapsed, windows shattered and insulation swirled like mist, he remembers, "The experience was one of architectural dismemberment – it was quick and violent." And while Arsham is wary of positioning this event as the sole foundation of his structure-bending practice, the wreckage he experienced funda- mentally altered the perceived solidity of both the buildings and bodies we live. Decades later, deep into the evolving legacy of this formative – but now absent moment, he fashions an ongoing series of full-body self-portraits out of crushed glass and marble. Seeking to overcome inherent frailties, fault lines and scars as matter-turned-metaphor, "The glass is really about taking this broken useless material," in the words of Arsham, "and reforming it back into something that has intention and purpose." His ensuing avatars are more meditative than monumental, standing ponderous and bewildered as if they had just emerged from hibernation. They have been made whole and hefty but lack the corresponding footing – searching for orientation as their plight propels them back to an archetypal quest for the fugitive condition we call reality.

Arsham has playfully described himself as a scientist and pseudo-archaeologist, but his continued production of these pensive surrogates speaks to a philosophical dialogue with the Greek philosopher Plato and his timeless quest for truth. Plato expressed this pursuit in especially visual terms in the now iconic Allegory of the Cave, which describes the perceptual manipulation of woeful captives imprisoned beneath the earth's crust. First told in his seminal treatise, The Republic (380 BC), we learn of people who have spent their entire lives in physical and psychological chains: watching the shadows cast from objects parading behind, believing these phantoms to be reality. When one prisoner breaks free and makes his way to the surface, he is blinded by the sun and overcome with a world newly discovered – seeing truth for the first time, but struggling to apprehend its implications. For Plato this was the jagged, but necessary path to enlightenment: liberating the body from purely sensory perception to embrace the greater truth that can reside only in the mind.

Arsham's figures embody multiple stages of this luminous disorientation, shielding their eyes, gazes averted, exhausted and restless, lost in thought as manifestations of the artist's mind. He encases himself in plaster for 4-5 hours at a time to fashion the molds for these figures, evoking the suffocating darkness and restraints endured by those deep inside the cave. In another twist of Platonic alignment, Arsham himself is almost entirely color blind – turning the absence of chroma in his eyes into a journey across the spectrum of shadow to light. And yet it is in the dawn of the present, in an era where digital shadows have become our presiding "reality" and materiality grows endangered, that Arsham makes a pronounced adjustment to Plato's ideals. His reconstituted figures are less illusory apparitions than touchstones to a physical existence that continues to recede as we advance towards a cloud-based future. These figures are one with shattered glass, geological materials and – as we will now discuss – aging media objects, not as nostalgic soothers, but as catalysts for the 21st century mind to travel backwards and forwards at once.

Ruins and artifacts are the portrait of a past way of life – enduring as evidence of the way mankind shaped apparatuses, and the ways they in turn, shaped us. Over the past year, Arsham and his studio have turned a variety of modern cultural objects – with obsolescence built into their DNA – into crumbling relics "preserved like petrified wood or the figures of Pompeii." From phones, cameras, microphones and VHS tapes to film projectors, tires, keyboards and boomboxes he has produced close to 3,000 calcified effigies of the 20th and 21st centuries from earthly substances like volcanic ash, obsidian, carbon dust and rose quartz. And while their accompanying presentation as an archaeological dig may seem slightly premature, there is no question that the physical object has been increasingly cast as abject and that which must be surpassed in the name of progress. Cloud- based technologies, streaming media, virtual identities, e-books, experience economies and the post-nation citizen collectively advance a dematerialized future where the real grows increasingly ethereal. Facing this intangible, but rapidly approaching horizon, Arsham's swelling time capsule takes on the ostensible guise of resistance: obsessively copying (and re-copying) contemporary devices with elemental dust to forge a sanctuary of solid ground.

Is this sublimation of the industrial-media age akin to the way the prisoners of Plato's Cave cavort with shadows, content in their ignorance and complacency? A retreat into the bedrock of earthly matter and the comforts of pop culture would be under- standable, but Arsham explains, "I approach projects and spaces in a way that I try not to add anything to them, but instead take something we already know and make it do something that it shouldn't . . . Remake or reform it, giving it new purpose and possibility." In so doing, he highlights the crucial element of transformation in this casting and collection process – retaining the visual resemblance of flip phones and footballs but stripping them of utility. These objects no longer function as they were originally intended, but as their societal value erodes their currency is reconstituted as these aging pariahs are cast – literally and figuratively – as catalysts of the mind; as the light beyond the Cave. With present purpose evacuated, these nascent relics evoke memories of past uses and projections of what will take their place in the days ahead. Their position in the here and now is nothing more than tentative at best. As such, in this fertile absence that returns Arsham's aforementioned veiled figures to the conversation, the present becomes an open question to ponder and populate. And like his entropic treatment of architecture and its absolutes, this present is never static or stable – providing just enough footing to climb towards the brightness.