Pawel Althamer at the New Museum
New Museum Review
The New Museum is sort of my London Bar (a bar in Barcelona where Hemingway was a regular). For the next three months it will be resided by Pawel Althamer a polish born master of the abstract effigy. He self portrayed himself as Billy Goat (a cartoon character constantly journeying in search for the right fitting shoes). Althamer is on a never-ending exodus bending his perception of reality. Exploring the vantage points of extreme sedatives, mushrooms, the velvety air and space of the wet forests. The high from the bird of his daughter as a perception change intoxication. Smiling for no reason. Talking to god for no reason. Being happy for no reason. Just being. Life (as depicted in this show) is an experiment, a constant hypnosis. In a good way.
This nearly museum wide show will certainly hypnotize you out of the desert of the city and make you smell immortality. Enter the black market! Random encounters and street dwellers sculptured in the Neighbors (cast plastic and extruded plastic ribbon – built in the same materials as modern society). Hey, hemp, animal intestines, human skulls, wax, hair, glass eyes, wooden sticks, a feather to mention a few magic materials he uses to project life and feelings into inanimate objects. He is mastered at creating genuine islands outside time, fair social exchange. He preserves moments in time as in amber encapsulated colorless but emotional. His incarnation is present in most sculptures. Alone in a room staring out of the window overlooking his childhood.
He places value in childhood and play, helping him to come to terms with complex emotional events and memories transferred into adulthood. He is searching for the commoner inside him. Often sculpturing individuals on the edge of society. A local bar dweller defying the social norms and regulations very extrovertly. After he passed Althamer had made a sculpture of him and placed it in front of his favorite bar. (I wish someone did that for me.) We are all slaves of atavism. The ones that escape this terrible affliction we call visionaries. Mr. Althamer is certainly one of them. If you believe the puzzle of your soul perhaps is missing a piece you are very likely to find it here (at the New Museum). There is no recipe.
more by MILEN VASILEV
As originally published on March 7, 2014 by Luxurious Prototype – Pawel Althamer at the New Museum