<body> Public Ad Campaign: Civilian Exhibition at HLP
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Saturday, January 6, 2018

Civilian Exhibition at HLP

My first solo exhibition with Harlan Levey Projects was titled Civilian, and ran from November 16th to December 27th, 2017. A confluence of events afforded me some extra installation time which I used to prototype a sculptural piece that had been in the back of my mind. I think it really helped the installation and I look forward to creating more sculptural works in the future.

The front room consisted of 3, floor to ceiling, wheatpasted Collisions images. Each of these images augmented which brought you into the public where so much of my work takes place or originates. Below you were 22 bus shelter advertisements taken from the streets of Brussels over the course of a week. The advertisement was for Prima Donna, a women's lingerie company.

In the next room were 4 Labor pieces, 1 large Titan Smash piece, and the aforementioned sculpture which I titled 115 Fluorescent Tubes. Each of these pieces required me to steal advertising infrastructure. The most subtle works were the Labor series which start with me taking the plexiglass that normally lies behind outdoor advertising and which diffuses the fluorescent lights into an even illumination. These pieces of plexiglass are meticulously cleaned and then sanded to take on the appearance of soft marble. I then also take selected advertisements and paint out all of the text leaving only the image or product behind. The sanded plexiglass sheets are then placed on top of the image, one after another, until the image is almost illegible, leaving only the faintest trace for you to decipher.

In contrast to that work was the Titan Smash work which is made by stealing the Titan signs which adorn most NYC phonebooths to label to company who owns the booth. These signs are then smashed, reassembled, and cased in resin so that the sharp edges of the signs protrude from the frames. With all five parts, the piece stood a little over 8' x 4'.

And last was the prototype work that I created on site by removing 115 fluorescent lights from over 40 outdoor advertising locations around Brussels. Over the course of 3 days I carefully walked circles out from the gallery and back along a different path collecting bulbs along the way. Placed on a small stand and middle column that held the ballasts and wiring, the lights were wrapped in black furniture bands and simply stood upright in the gallery. The inner 12 bulbs were illuminated so that the bundle glowed from within.

For me the back room, and in particular the 115 fluorescent light's sculpture excited me as an artist. Had I made the sculpture using purchased materials, it would have been a nice lamp, but having taken the lights without permission I had transformed them into objects that could warrant conversation and dialogue. It was like small alchemy and one of the first pieces that I think is truly whole.

Read a review of the exhibition [HERE]

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Blogger Thanh Nhựt said...

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