13 March, 2009
Brian Tolle _CRG Gallery
first show at the CRG
Gallery, the artist Brian Tolle presents until March 21st
“Levittown”, a group of cast silicones sculptures representing sort of
melting houses in some very unexpected positions.
Levittown was the name given by Abraham Levitt to a complex of houses in Long
Island, New York. Designed and built by the latter, this housing community
became in the fifties the model of the American suburban life, and was
strictly reproduced all over the blighted farmland. This mechanic mass
production, where only the color was varying, was a great symbol of the
American dream. In this exhibition, Brian Tolle brings us a very accurate
metaphor of the actual collapse of this ideal.
Indeed, these houses that were yesterday an easy way to access to a middle
class society, are today lost by their inhabitants because of the subprime
mortgage crisis. The dream became a nightmare, and like in the nightmare, the
reality is falling apart. Tolle distorts, manipulates the shapes of the
houses, which are in fact only frontages: like ghost houses, they
remain empty inside. Emptied of furniture, of people, of life.
A house, one of the fundamental element of our everyday life on which a man
can rely on on, where he gets the comfort of a
family life, is here left in a basket, there extended and as planted in the
floor like a provisory tent for camping, they are also deformed and put in a
even gets ironed
on a ironing board. The unbelievable is here happening; the houses are
contorted like any common and useless object, ready to be transported like a
vulgar box of chocolates.
rubber houses, without any means of internal support, resemble deflated or
melting skins. Meticulously crafted and bearing all the architectural details
of the original houses, the effigies occupy the gallery space in different
forms, each draped over or suspended by different appropriated objects. In
one of the works, the elastic house hangs languidly and contorted over a
1950's vintage beauty parlor hair dryer. The elastic shell takes on the figure-like
structure of the form beneath it, resembling a cloaked and bowing figure (…).
Within each pairing, the found object and pliable architectural rendition
inform each other; at times they exemplify hidden social or political
signifiers that might remain dormant outside of their union.”
The objects chosen are, like the houses, the standard mass products of the
American way of life. Thus, they respond to each other and emphasize the
enormous conformity of the American consumerism.
Finally, two ideas are rising from this exhibition: one is, because of the
actual economic context, the fall of the American dream. The second, is an
image of the particular American way of consumerism, implying all this
tendency to live in the strict conformity of the mass-produced standard
above : View of the installation at the CRG Gallery,
New York, 2009. Courtesy CRG Gallery]
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