Thursday, January 13, 2011

NYC art exhibition – Mars: Adrift on the Hourglass Sea

The longtime collaborative art team of Nicholas Kahn & Richard Selesnick recently unveiled Mars: Adrift on the Hourglass Sea, a new exhibition of photographs and sculpture at the Yancey Richardson Gallery, down in the heart of New York City’s Chelsea art district. According to the official press release:

"the artists present a dark and powerful visage of a collapsed civilization on the red planet. Integrating actual photo-mosaics of Martian landscapes taken by NASA space rovers, with their distinctive brand of sci-fi mysticism and art historical contexts, the artists offer a salient version of what constitutes the contemporary sublime landscape.

Recalling the visual sublimity of Casper David Friedrich and the existential wanderlust of Mary Shelley, Kahn & Selesnick weave together a narrative of human survival amidst the crumbling vestiges of a once inhabited landscape. The exhibition features two female protagonists and a child (whose birth on the rocky terrain is also documented), as they negotiate a path through a civilization’s ruins. A curious combination of stone-age monuments and high-tech devices litter the landscape – simultaneously ancient and futuristic – at turns resembling Stonehenge or the design of Buckminster Fuller, though largely devoid of visual clues that place the story within a recognizable time period.

Poignant issues of technology, economic and societal collapse, environmental disaster and existential philosophy are explored under the guise of a fantastical journey through the deserts of our neighbor planet. Additionally, the notion of Earth and Mars as planetary twins is advanced through repeated visual mirroring devices: the figure of Janus – two-faced god of portals – appears, as do the motifs of dividing cells and the recurrence of hematite rock clusters that appear, almost identically, on the surface of Mars and the deserts of Utah, a location used by Kahn & Selesnick for this project."

Mars: Adrift on the Hourglass Sea runs from January 6th to February 19th, 2011.

Pictured above: “Airmaker” by Kahn & Selesnick, courtesy of the artists and Yancey Richardson Gallery.

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