Static Mythologies | Daniel Arsham

Galerie Ron Mandos, Amsterdam

Daniel Arsham 
Static Mythologies
12 January – 16 March

Galerie Ron Mandos proudly presents Static Mythologies, an exhibition with new works by Daniel Arsham. The artist is well-known for his ‘fictional archaeology’: sculptures depicting iconic cultural objects from our age, turned into relics by the artist who casts them in geological substances such as volcanic ash, rose quartz, obsidian and glacial rock. With their eroded, fossilized look, the works have been referred to as ‘catalysts for the 21st century mind to travel backwards and forwards at once’. 

The artists draws inspiration from his childhood memories, American pop culture, his research at NASA laboratories and his visits to the Hellenic wing of the Metropolitan Museum. Artist Marc Quinn described Arsham's works as follows: ‘Like looking at our own culture through a million years telescope […] He gives us the macabre thrill of seeing our culture how others might see it centuries from now.’ 

The immersive installation Lunar Garden, one of Arsham’s signature architectural interventions, will see its European premier at Galerie Ron Mandos. The artist was inspired by his visits to Kyoto’s famous karesansui, or Zen gardens. ‘Whenever I visit them, they look as if time hasn’t passed. But in fact they are heavily maintained by the monks. In my works, too, this balance between permanence and impermanence is very important’. 

The artist views Lunar Garden as an ethereal space to think about the passing of time, which is a concept central to all of his works. For his eroded sculptures he carefully selects items that speak to a broad audience, such as magazine covers and objects used in popular sports. New to Arsham’s vocabulary of forms are his wrapped sculptures. These works refer to an art historical context: they are reminiscent of the wet drapery technique in Ancient Greek sculpture, but also of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s iconic wrapped sculptures. The wrapping of objects was also used by Surrealists such as Man Ray, whose L'Enigme d'Isidore Ducasse (1920) inspired Arsham to apply concealing as a means to reveal an uncanny state within the object. 

About the artist 

Daniel Arsham (US, 1980) is based in New York. He straddles the line between art, architecture and performance. As one of the founders of the seminal Miami artist-run spaces ‘The House’, he is interested in collaboration: he has worked with people such as legendary choreographer Merce Cunningham and musician Pharrell Williams. Arsham’s works have been shown at institutions such as The New Museum, New York, US; High Museum of Art, Atlanta, US; PS1, New York, US; The Museum of Contemporary Art Miami, US and VDNH Moscow, RU. Works by the artist can be found in the collections of Pérez Art Museum, Miami, US; DIOR Collection, Paris, FR; The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, US and the Centre Pompidou, Paris, FR. Rizzoli has recently published a comprehensive monograph of Arsham’s work.

Static Mythologies coincides with Daniel Arsham’s exhibition Connecting Time (18 January – 30 September) at Moco Museum, Amsterdam, co-created with the artist in collaboration with Galerie Ron Mandos and Perrotin.

ABOUT Daniel Arsham

New York based artist Daniel Arsham work explores the fields of fine art, architecture, performance, design and film. Raised in Miami, Arsham attended the Cooper Union in New York City where he received the Gelman Trust Fellowship Award in 2003.

Soon thereafter Arsham toured worldwide with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company as the company’s stage designer. The experience lead to an ongoing collaborative practice which continues as Arsham works with world renowned artists, musicians, designers, and brands.

Arsham’s uchronic aesthetics revolves around his concept of fictional archaeology. Working in sculpture, architecture, drawing and film, he creates and crystallizes ambiguous in-between spaces or situations, and further stages what he refers to as future relics of the present. Always iconic, most of the objects that he turns into stone refer to the late 20th century or millennial era, when technological obsolescence unprecedentedly accelerated along with the digital dematerialization of our world. While the present, the future and the past poetically collide in his haunted yet playful visions between romanticism and pop art, Daniel Arsham also experiments with the timelessness of certain symbols and gestures across cultures.

In 2008, Arsham co-founded Snarkitecture with architect Alex Mustonen. Snarkitecture is a collaborative design practice established to investigate the boundaries between the disciplines of art and architecture. Snarkitecture focuses on the reinterpretation of everyday materials, structures and programs to new and imaginative effect. The studio's work includes installations, architectural environments and objects for a diverse range of clients such as Beats by Dre, Calvin Klein, COS, Design Miami, Gufram, Kith, New Museum, and Valextra.