Daniel Arsham — Animal Architecture


Architecture, drawing, sculpture, mixed media

Daniel Arsham
Animal Architecture

Past: March 20 → May 7, 2010

Architecture is a prevelant subject throughout the artwork of Daniel Arsham: environments with eroded walls and stairs going nowhere, landscapes where nature overrides structures, and a general sense of playfulness within existing architecture. His drawings of ruins in the middle of a luxurious and dominant nature reveal his fascination for the classical painters such as Nicolas Poussin and Hubert Robert. Nevertheless, the ruins he describes are those of the modernists buildings, evoking Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier.

Arsham’s new series of Gouache on Mylar drawings are inspired by etchings of Gustave Doré and Albrecht Dürer, among others, with Arsham rehashing old images into new stories. The artist has said that “The type of line work found in etchings brings to mind a certain time period, though in my work time has been compressed. Through the use of imagery foreign to the period and to the place, the imagery becomes timeless. There is a post-human quality to this series.” The act of recreating the etching lines by brush is a modern approach to a classic form of image making. The drawings feature various animals: kangaroos, owls and donkeys, staring at or interacting with floating architectural forms of different shapes and sizes. The animals appear both perplexed and intrigued with these human objects and seem to be lost in contemplation. “Animals have a unique relationship with architecture because it is not built for them. When we are confronted with the animal’s ambiguous connection to a world designed for humans, we are better equipped to ask questions about our own relationships to architecture.” Arsham has said.

In tandem, Arsham presents a new series of sculptures that replicate in real scale “push puppets,” figurines recollected from childhood. He creates various life-sized animals that slowly collapse and reform again after a while. The effect of the constant rises and falls of the puppet animals gives the pieces an enduring, sad and subtly frightening feel. The choice to use toy models of the animals, instead of life models, takes the work one step further away from nature. Arsham has effectively recreated the animals architecturally, which unites these intriguing and uncanny pieces to the other works on display.

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Daniel Arsham, Pixel Cloud, 2010 Plastic, paint Courtesy Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris & Miami

The series of sculptures entitled Pixel Clouds reveals Arsham’s fascination with architecture and its relationship to nature which takes him into new territory. The artist begins with digital photographs of clouds, drastically increased, creating a tapestry of digital color pixels. The individual colors from the image are transferred into hand-painted balls, which are assembled to form clouds that inhabit the gallery space. By examining how concepts like time, nature and color are built, Arsham challenges the conventional methods of looking at the architecture. Two new cube sculptures will also be presented that carry Arsham’s erosion works onto autonomous forms separate from the architecture.

Emmanuel Perrotin – Saint Claude Gallery Gallery
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10, impasse Saint Claude

75003 Paris

T. 01 42 16 79 79 — F. 01 42 16 79 74


Saint-Sébastien – Froissart

Opening hours

Tuesday – Saturday, 11 AM – 7 PM

The artist