Daniel Arsham: Hourglass



Daniel Arsham's latest show at the High Museum of Art, continues his exploration into how we view our histories, but leaves behind his monochromatic aesthetic in favour for one filled with expanses of highly saturated colour. His work centres around the relics and artefacts that museums display to create a narrative about our past, replacing these with contemporary items such as sporting memorabilia, stereos and keyboards.       

For his show Daniel Arsham: Hourglass, he has created three site-specific installations that utilises audio, sculpture and performance. On entering, visitors are confronted with a series of hourglass’ that gallery staff routinely turn. The sand drops down from one end to the other, simultaneously concealing and revealing everyday objects cast in semi-precious stone. While watching this action, audio of a child’s voice drifts around the space, describing the very objects that are being covered and uncovered.

In his most expansive installation, Arsham has created a large Japanese Zen garden rendered in blue, punctuated with an ash grey tree and glowing ceramic urn. Inside the blue pagoda a figure sits cross-legged, adjacent to an old film camera and a kimono hung up ready for use. Outside, a performer rakes prescribed patterns into the sand, methodically and hypnotically as a voice echoes out describing the scene.

His last installation is a cavernous room created out of sporting equipment cast in purple amethyst. The very nature of the material glows with the projected light creating a striking environment to be surrounded by, but also one that feels like it’s closing in. This overwhelming nature could be attributed to Arsham’s recent ability to truly see colour with the help of special lenses to correct his own colour blindness. His new ‘overly saturated world’ has attributed to this change within his practice to use colour so boldly and dramatically as he has done in these installations.

Daniel Arsham: Hourglass is on at the High Museum of Art until 21 May.

Images: Courtesy wallpaper.com