Saturday, April 08, 2006

Art! Brian Jungen, Chelsea

He's just brilliant. "Thunderbirds" is another riff on the mask, brilliantly conceived in a half dozen rear-view mirrors placed on a gallery wall, each with ghostly white feathers dangling. Part homage to the fluffy dice, part dream-catcher, part mask, these mirrors offer an immediate point of entry into the work. Lonesome highway? Northern lights? Descending into the endless road of white culture?

This theme is expanded upon in the eerily soft skulls stitched together from old softball hides and stretched to their max as if running from some unearthly force--more unearthly than raw bone? The garbled soundscape was inaudible to me, but I got the message without looking at the title: "The Evening Redness in the West." What Sherman Alexie did for the short story, Jungen does for conceptual art.

The third installation, "The Evening Redness in the West (1)" is saddles that look as though they've been crafted from the slick leather jackets of sports starts, nestled on wooden tables (I thought they were saw horses, but no). Apparently these move around the room as a heroic battling soundtrack explodes in the room. I couldn't see, and I couldn't stay to watch, but again, a powerful, well conceived show.

I missed the more playful tones of the transformation masks, but I think the pleasure of that last work was probably a little unsettling. The stark white, stripped down essence of this show hits home.

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