Daniel Arsham: Special Project

22 November 2014 - 7 January 2015 Main Space

Pippy Houldsworth Gallery is pleased to announce a new, site-specific project by Daniel Arsham, comprising a single wall-intervention in which a solitary figure will appear hidden behind the gallery walls. Following recent collaborations with Pharrell Williams and James Franco, this project will coincide with Arsham’s participation in Post Pop: East Meets West, a comprehensive survey show celebrating the legacy of Pop Art at Saatchi Gallery.


Challenging notions of materiality, Arsham work serves to destabilise the gallery’s architecture. Enveloped within white drapery, it is unclear whether the figure behind the wall has been entrapped in plaster, or whether he is seeking refuge from an external force. Coercing materials to behave in unexpected ways, the artist’s intervention seeks to transcend the boundaries of the white cube by physically altering its framework.


Discussing his site-specific interventions, Arsham explains: ‘in all of these works, I alter something that everyone knows. I manipulate the surface of architecture or the material of it. Sometimes it’s a surface and sometimes it’s the depth of the wall. I’m always looking for various ways that I can transform these things. They stretch like fabric, sometimes appear to be eroding like a natural formation, creeping back into the architecture, and sometimes they appear to be melting. These different states of transition inspire my work. Oftentimes there are figures that interact with the architecture by wrapping themselves up in the walls or appear to be hiding behind the surface. They’re always doing so in very subtle way, which allows the viewer to believe that these things are actually happening, like the wall is stretching and could be eroding.’


Daniel Arsham’s solo exhibitions include Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami; Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia; Miami Art Museum and Locust Projects, Miami. Arsham’s work has also been shown at MoMA PS1, New York; The Athens Bienniale, Greece; The New Museum, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago and Carré d’Art de Nîmes, France among others. In 2015, Arsham will have a one-person exhibition at Contemporary Arts Art Center, Cincinnati, the first large-scale exhibition Arsham has shown in his home state.


Following in the footsteps of Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol and Bruce Nauman, legendary choreographer Merce Cunningham invited Arsham to create the stage design for his work eyeSpace in 2004. Subsequently, Arsham toured with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company for performances in Australia, France and multiple locations in the United States.


Arsham has since developed an ongoing collaboration with Jonah Bokaer, a former dancer in Cunningham’s company. Their work stages interactions between Bokaer’s choreography and Arsham’s sculptural pieces. Recent projects include Study for Occupant, 2012, which was performed at the Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia; Théâtre de la Cité, Paris; Galerie Perrotin, Paris and New Museum, New York, culminating in a full performance of the piece at the Adrienne Arsht Center, Miami in 2013. Arsham’s most recent collaboration with world renowned musician and producer Pharrell Williams involved the recreation of Pharrell’s first keyboard in volcanic ash.