DANIEL ARSHAM AT 20
Twenty years. Daniel Arsham and Emmanuel Perrotin are celebrating their 20 years together ! In a fast moving world, such a long partnership is rare. To celebrate this “China anniversary” - the porcelain, not the country - Perrotin is mounting a double exhibition, in Paris and in New York, at the same time.
The show retraces Daniel Arsham’s steps from his beginning as a painter to his “eroded” sculpture”, but it is much more than this. The exhibition features pieces from a new collaboration with Star Wars in Arsham’s signature fictional archeological technique of erosion. There are also never seen before sketches made from hotel rooms across the world, testimony of Arsham’s continuous travels; recent paintings with a new impasto paint developed by him; wall surface manipulations. The exhibition continues into the bookstore that Daniel Arsham has also taken over.
“I met Daniel when he was 22 years old, an emerging artist living in his studio,” recalls Emmanuel Perrotin, “and I was immediately drawn to his incredible talent and distinct vision. Daniel’s practice breaks the boundaries of fine art and exists across industries. As his success has grown, he has been able to keep his practice open to a broad audience, as a leader in editions, collaborations, and a widespread internet presence, which is admirable.”
Born in 1980 in Cleveland, Ohio,, Daniel Arsham was raised in Miami. Hurricane Andrew which left Miami devastated gave the young Daniel the sense of impermanence. In his most famous work, he creates what he calls “future archeology”. He transforms today’s objects - a guitar, a camera, a keyboard, a basketball, etc. - into future archeological relics, using volcanic ashes, quartz, rock crystal, obsidian, marble powder, etc. Arsham is making today our civilization’s relics futures archeologists will discover in a millennium.
Arsham is a multifaceted artist. After studying at Cooper Union, he toured worldwide with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company as the company’s stage designer for over four years—an experience that informed his ongoing synergistic practice. He also became an assistant to Robert Wilson, the great theater director who created The Deafman Glance. In 2007, Arsham founded the pioneering architecture firm Snarkitecture with partner Alex Mustonen. Collaboration continues to be a key cornerstone of his practice—realizing high-profile projects with music producer Pharrell Williams and designer Hedi Slimane, as well as Dior, Porsche, and Tiffany & Co. Arsham has participated in numerous major international solo exhibitions.
“His diversity of practice seems familiar to someone who has been living and breathing Andy Warhol continuously for more than a decade,” analyzes Patrick Moore, director of The Andy Warhol Museum and Curator. “The most obvious parallel between Arsham and Warhol is that both are unabashedly businessmen, blurring the line between art and commerce, but a richer comparison is the near constant presence of nostalgia in their work. This is not an easy, sweet nostalgia but a somewhat grim reminder that the great wonders of American life and popular culture are in the past. This is evident in Arsham’s drawings on hotel stationary, which document the artist’s success as a physical archive of travel as well as the transformation of his style and markmaking over time. Drawing has consistently been an important discipline for Arsham, including a daily sketchbook practice which he started at the age of nine. In his current practice, Arsham similarly uses drawing as a space of boundless creativity where he conjures ideas for large-scale installations. Arsham’s drawings pull their subjects from many of his sculptural projects, scrambling iconic American cartoon and movie characters with classical sculptures and anime figures in a jetlagged mixtape. The drawings function as studies but also feel like a song that gets stuck in your head, randomly reappearing in the middle of the night to remind you of the pop hits of your high school years. All of the subjects share one quality - they look back through time.” And we are now looking back at them 20 years on. Jean-Sébastien Stehli
Daniel Arsham. 20 Ans/20 Years. Perrotin Paris September 2 - October 7. Perrotin New York, September 6 - October 14. Perrotin.com