Daniel Arsham takes a few of his favorite things and makes them sparkle IRL.
My high school major was “literature”, which meant a lot of reading, writing and philosophy. Thankfully, my philosophy teacher was my spirit animal and the picture perfect example of brains and cool. I gifted her a Yoshiki Hishinuma shirt when she announced her pregnancy and she totally got it. Unfortunately I don’t remember her name, but I remember two major lessons she left me with: Freud was awesome, and Stendhal will snatch your wig.
Reading “Le Rouge et Le Noir” by Stendhal (yes in French) was no small feat. Learning about him was captivating. He made me understand Love – the way no other teacher, parent, or even Oprah segment could… through “crystallization”.
According to Wikipedia, crystallization is a concept, developed in 1822 by Stendhal, which describes the process, or mental metamorphosis, in which unattractive characteristics of a new love are transformed into perceptual diamonds of shimmering beauty; according to a quotation by Stendhal: What I call ‘crystallization’ is the operation of the mind that draws from all that presents itself the discovery that the loved object has some new perfections.
In the summer of 1818 Stendhal took a recreational trip to the salt mines of Hallein near Salzburg with his friend and associate Madame Gherardi. Here they discovered the phenomenon of salt “crystallization” and used it as a metaphor for human relationships.
“In the salt mines, nearing the end of the winter season, the miners will throw a leafless wintry bough into one of the abandoned workings. Two or three months later, through the effects of the waters saturated with salt which soak the bough and then let it dry as they recede, the miners find it covered with a shining deposit of crystals. The tiniest twigs no bigger than a tom-tit’s claw are encrusted with an infinity of little crystals scintillating and dazzling. The original little bough is no longer recognizable; it has become a child’s plaything very pretty to see. When the sun is shining and the air is perfectly dry the miners of Hallein seize the opportunity of offering these diamond-studded boughs to travellers preparing to go down to the mine.”
When I went to go visit Daniel Arsham’s “Dystopian Vision of The Future” I immediately understood what he was doing. Even before he explained his thought process and described, how from the pile of seemingly unimportant “stuff” we would be drawn to the things we used or identified the most with. Or how he was compelled to cast the “Back to The Future” DeLorean and “Ferris Bueller” Ferrari because of his affinity for the films and memories of watching those classics growing up.
He reinvents the items through geological context, giving them an eroded appearance without losing their integrity. He even goes so far as to incorporate crystals in the pieces. During the tour of the exhibition he explains that this is how he imagines the items looking in a dystopian future. A stark contrast from the rusty and worn look we normally see in a junkyard pit.
The exhibition will go until 21 October 2018 at Galerie Perrotin, 130 Orchard Street, New York.
If you love nostalgia as much as we do, go see it.