Paris-Scope: Brice Brown
I Looked Down, I Realized I Had a Body
Mixed Greens and Projective City are pleased to present an ambitious, site-specific installation by Brice Brown. Imagine being obsessed with a particular object’s beauty. So entirely consumed, in fact, with the power and glory of the object’s image that you eventually feel compelled to destroy it and liberate yourself from the crippling control of its perfection.
Brice Brown’s immersive installation, I looked down, I realized I had a body, explores this all-consuming obsession and its tragic consequences. It takes inspiration from Yukio Mishima’s book, The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, a fictionalized recounting of the tragic burning of the Kinkaku-ji temple in Kyoto in 1950 by a crazed Buddhist acolyte. However—as indicated by the show’s title—Brown’s installation contemplates an alternative conclusion, replacing the desire to destroy with the desire to wholly consume, to negate by ultimately becoming the object itself. In Mishima’s book, obsession is rooted in a desire to abolish personal ugliness; in Brown’s installation, obsession is rooted in a desire to transcend the banality of life and self-mythologize by asserting control over one’s physical self.
The exhibition consists of a large, 24k gold suit of armor based on the dimensions of the artist’s own body. Held aloft by a museum-style stand in the middle of the gallery space, it appears to hover just slightly above the floor: large, terrifying, domineering, at once alien and familiar. Equal parts narcissistic, melancholic, and perversely sexual, this golden suit is as much an impotent cage as it is a spectacular object, hinting at the pervasive futility underlying the quest for mortal release. On the gallery walls surrounding this golden structure are three large-scale works: illuminated and etched mirrors depicting stylized landscape motifs; a luxurious field of hand-applied gold leaf; and a site-specific pigment print wall covering. Each of these works reflects light back and forth, creating a murky, luminous, and physically pungent environment in which the viewer confronts the glory and menace of the golden suit of armor.
In conjunction with the exhibition, Brown has created a limited edition replica of the large helmet from the golden suit of armor. Like a talisman, or charm, this small item can be carried around and obsessed over, acting as a constant reminder of the power and control an object can have over us.
Brown’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and has been written about in The New York Times, TimeOut New York, artnet.com, artforum.com, ARTnews, and Art in America, among others. His work is in the permanent collections of the Speed Art Museum, Louisville, KY; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD; Yale University, New Haven, CT; and Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH.
For more information, please visit bricebrown.com
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