Installation Views

Mon 2005.akg.install.4 1400 0x93x3000x1999 q85Mon 2005.akg.install.2 1400 0x200x3000x1998 q85

Works

Ak3725 waitingforuse 300 1400 0x109x1624x1084 q85Ak3728 mostisolated 300 1400 0x81x1206x806 q85Ak3715 mon blindastronomy 1400 0x33x1395x930 q85

Press Release

June 24 –
July 29, 2005

Like entering a Wunderkammer, a cabinet of curiosities, the viewer of Matthew Monahan’s new exhibition at Anton Kern Gallery will be engulfed by a multitude of displays containing a variety of wax figures, paper sculptures, ornamental drawings, and other artifacts. The work was made in the last two years, though some elements go as far back as 1994, during and after travels through Japan, Tibet, China, and Europe.

 

Monahan set out to excavate the ruins of his own work, to preserve and reanimate many creative fragments, all bizarrely reconfigured in pseudo-museological displays that take on a narrative and allegorical dimension. Unpainted drywall and glass vitrines stage this post-industrial, apocalyptic curiosity cabinet. A deranged arrangement of reliquaries and cracked monuments produces an effect of historical and cultural confusion, where voodoo, classicism, Buddha and modernism collide.

 

Monahan comments that:

 

the work is not a postmodern selection of references to be decoded, but a bodily expulsion of influence and impulse performed in the act of making. Art history and private history are simultaneous, in the movement of my hands... a cycle of making, breaking and fixing. It is another attempt to escape the uncanny frontality and horror of the figurative, its pathetic desire to act in real space and to look back at you. The figures are most shocking or charming when they become characters. Matchstick pupils (phosphorous vision) - materials take on a magic function, the character is fortified and abused by substances, smothered in gold, pierced by sticks, trapped in glass, ... devices to exceed the limits of the body. A brutal materiality edging towards spirituality.

Read MoreRead Less
PDF