Crossing Chronology: Daniel Arsham’s ‘Time Dilation’ Opens at NYC’s Perrotin Gallery

Daniel Arsham
Installation view of Daniel Arsham: Time Dilation at
Perrotin New York, 2021. Photo by Guillaume
Ziccarelli. Courtesy of the artist and Perrotin

Trying to restart our New York cultural lives, we were recently treated to an exclusive preview of Daniel Arsham’s current exhibit, Time Dilation, at the Lower East Side’s Perrotin gallery. Just like the latest sneaker drop at streetwear citadel Kith – a collaboration between Arsham and Ronnie Feig – there was a long line forming outside the gallery of his fans trying to steal a peek at the show.

In his work, Arsham blurs the lines between art, architecture, archeology, and design. His singular talents have been tapped by Pharrell Williams, Adidas and Dior Homme artistic director Kim Jones. He also recently served as the creative director for the Cleveland Cavaliers, where he was responsible for all the visual identity for the NBA franchise. In his latest installation, he takes over the entire three gallery floors, with new works including rarely seen paintings.

In his distinctive style, he integrates ancient artworks with objects from twentieth-century pop culture and casts sculptures of them, incorporating geological materials such as quartz or volcanic ash. Colliding past, present, and future in haunted yet playful visions, he prompts viewers to question their everyday surroundings. 

Daniel Arsham
Blue Calcite Crystallized Poliwhirl, 2020
Blue calcite, quartz, hydrostone
50.8 x 76.2 x 45.7 cm | 20 x 30 x 18 in
Photo by Guillaume Ziccarelli
Courtesy of the artist and Perrotin
©2021 Pokemon. ©1995 ́ -2021 Nintendo/Creatures
Inc./GAME FREAK inc.

“The works are a time shift,” he explains. “They either project us into the future, or have been brought back from the future to this current era. There could be a potential reading where the works feel apocalyptic…but I prefer to see them more as an inevitable outcome of history.”

In a particular masterstroke, he fuses contemporary pop and the Renaissance art, juxtaposing a Pokémon figure with the sort of statue you might come across in Florence’s exalted Uffizi Gallery. The combinations are unlikely. slightly jarring, but also mystifying.

“Pokémon, in this body of work, for me, is relevant in thinking about ancient sculpture and ancient history,” he observes. “The characters that figure in Greek and Roman work are gods, and in some cases, representations of emperors or other historical figures. These figures were almost the culture of the day, the ‘pop’ elements of that era… Pokémon being that of today. This exhibition combines all of those things together into one era.”

Chronology can be so overrated.

From top:

Installation view of Daniel Arsham: Time Dilation at
Perrotin New York, 2021. Photo by Guillaume
Ziccarelli. Courtesy of the artist and Perrotin

Daniel Arsham
Bronze Eroded Venus of Arles, 2020
Bronze, patina, polished stainless steel
260 x 128 x 93 cm | 102 3/8 x 50 3/8 x 36 5/8 in
Photo by Guillaume Ziccarelli
Courtesy of the artist and Perrotin

Daniel Arsham
Installation view of Daniel Arsham: Time Dilation at
Perrotin New York, 2021. Photo by Guillaume
Ziccarelli. Courtesy of the artist and Perrotin

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