"Things Fall Apart" Michael Zelehoski Solo Exhibition
City: Paris
Duration: 2018-05-17 ~ 2018-07-13
Opening: May 17 from 2 to 9 pm
Address: 29 rue Notre-Dame de Nazareth,Paris
Participating Artist(s): Michael Zelehoski

Things Fall Apart. It is inevitable. Whether looking in the mirror or witnessing the apparent breakdown of contemporary society, we may take small comfort in the fact that this has always been the case. In response, New York artist Michael Zelehoski has developed an almost taxidermic process aimed at removing old, discarded objects from time and space and incorporating them into the timeless coordinate of the picture plane. In this new body of work, however, broken down objects don’t necessarily coalesce. They remain fragmented, lost in space, so to speak. They push through one another into new dimensions of illusory and often contradictory perspectives. Preserved but precarious, set but un-resolved, they challenge us to confront our own mortality and our relationship to the physical world.

If life, as Jean Cocteau said, is a horizontal fall, an express train racing towards death, art may allow us to step off the train while it’s still moving. These timeless moments may be as close as we get to immortality and even if we can’t ultimately save ourselves, perhaps we can rescue certain objects from oblivion by distilling them in time and space. This may allow us to see the subtle beauty of materials that might otherwise seem old or decrepit, the history inscribed in their surfaces by the passage of time. Zelehoski accomplishes this by literally deconstructing found objects and reassembling them two-dimensionally. In the selection and recontextualization of these objects, he facilitates the dialogue between our minds and reality, the asymmetry between future and past, ourselves and the outside world.

In this context, a reconstruction of the object faithful to its original form feels disingenuous. It is also inconsistent with the active and selective process that is perception, in which objects are recontextualized and abstracted by the mind. This has come to be the crux of Zelehoski’s practice - the reconciliation of the complexity of the outer world and the inner self that beholds it. This process, which normally transpires within the mind’s eye, plays out on a physical plain, going beyond representation to transform the actual material that has been perceived. This creates a feedback loop in which the mind transforms reality even as the perception of that reality is transformed in the process.

It is remarkable that Zelehoski succeeds making that process visible, forcing the beholder to wrestle fragmented and distorted objects into some semblance of cohesion. Our minds grapple with problems that can’t be solved, subject to rules of physics that no longer apply. Fragments come together to reveal hybrid objects. Perspective reveals itself to be a construct. In nature things tend to break down slowly, often imperceptibly. In these compositions we see it play out, static but constantly in flux. Things fall apart in our minds and things come together, in an ongoing process that cultivates a deeper awareness of the outer world and the inner self that beholds it.

Michael Zelehoski received his Associates of Art degree from Bard College at Simon’s Rock (MA) and a BA from the Universidad Finis Terrae, in Santiago, Chile. His work has been shown widely, notably in the USA, China, Europe and South America. He has received a variety of awards. In 2015, his monumental work, Open House, has been added to the permanent collection at the Centre Pompidou - National Museum of Modern Art in Paris.


[Editor] 张艳