Safe As Houses
New York, 191 Chrystie street
Safe As Houses is the Brooklyn-based artist Dan Herschlein’s second exhibition at JTT following 2015 The Enthusiast, in which the artist had started investigating the body’s position as a territory of physical and mental transformation within domestic setting. The artist’s second exhibition at the gallery’s new Chrystie street location resumes his investigation. In the aptly titled exhibition, the artist introduces low relief sculptures and drawings to comment on cultural and psychological undertones of furnitures, not only as mundane utilitarian objects, but also as witnesses and vessels of human experience.
In the heart of the exhibition is Now I’m Someone You Can See Through in which an anonymous male figure protrudes from the window of a brick-walled apartment building that somewhat transfers domesticity through the white curtain and pot that the window holds. While the barely visible hand gently pushing the body infuses the relief sculpture with an eerie narrative, the object’s face shrouded with a cloth akin to the white curtain and his hands plunged into the soil bring the disturbing atmosphere to climax. Through a clear homage to René Magritte and his complex subliminal universe in painting, Herschlein delivers a timeless and fluid visual ambiance. The artist’s sculpture seems relic-like as much as it stands out with his contemporary way of framing its subject matter, bringing together a range of everyday materials within a relief technique that dates back far in art history.
“I’m trying to talk about emotions that I don’t know how to talk about, so they’re not specific locations. I couldn’t map out a chart like acupuncture. They’re much more intuitive than that for me. A lot of times the relationship to that is their relation- ship to an architectural piece or something—architecture and hauntings are very much a part of [it]. I guess I’m thinking about how emotions haunt bodies, and then bodily emotions haunt houses and rooms and furniture,” said the artist in an interview with Haley Weiss in 2017 for Interview.
Safe As Houses runs through April 9, 2017