Daniel Arsham goes undercover at London’s Pippy Houldsworth Gallery
Daniel Arsham, artist and one half of design duo Snarkitecture, has recently collaborated with the musician Pharrell Williams and the actor James Franco. That would suggest a number of things, not all of them good (he has also collaborated with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, following in the footsteps of Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, just by the way of other credentials). What it strongly suggests is that Arsham is having a moment.
London is proving especially receptive. Arsham screened ’Future Relic 02’, his short film starring Franco as a sort of anti-archeologist of the future, at Chiltern Firehouse earlier this week; he is one of the artists featured in the just opened ’Post Pop: East Meets West’ at the Saatchi Gallery; and the Pippy Houldsworth Gallery has given over its Heddon Street space to a single new installation by Arsham, entitled ’Bound Figure’.
Arsham often plays with expectations about what materials and the built environment should and shouldn’t do. And in ’Bound Figure’ we see a human form, a man looking at the shoes, shrouded in the gallery’s white wall, trapped in the white cube; possibly forcing their way out, possibly being sucked in, possibly dreaming the whole thing up. More than a straight visual gag, it is expertly executed (the white wall becomes a white sheet convincingly) and unnerving.
Arsham soon moves onto Miami, where he was born, for a solo show at Locust Projects to coincide with Art Basel Miami.