Joe Scanlan, “Invention”

D’Amelio Terras, New York
April 3 – May 8, 1999

In a new installation which is at once grim and glamorous, Scanlan pantomimes a culture that tries to solve situations by inventing products. Invention sets up a conceptual see-saw by installing a hand-made coffin in one room, and a boutique of synthetic emotions in the other. “Catalyst” is the name of Scanlan’s own invention, a prepackaged suite of plastic cosmetic tears. A device “to wear when you want to give the appearance of having feelings or want to alter the chemistry of your surroundings”, Catalyst marks the culmination of 6 months of research and development with specialists in the design, fashion and packaging industries. The coffin, which Scanlan fabricated in collaboration with a master cabinet maker out of Tasmanian Blackwood, has been built to the artist’s exacting specifications. As such, it has much in common with many of today’s high-end custom-made home furnishings.

Joe Scanlan was recently shown in the 1998 Sydney Biennale as well as “Waste Management” at the Art Gallery of Ontario. In fall of 1999, he will have a solo show at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibition Space. Scanlan writes frequently for Frieze and other publications. This is his second one-person exhibition at D’Amelio Terras.

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