Peter Regli’s Snow Monsters Are On Their Way To Flatiron Plaza In New York City
Latest Installment In The Artist’s Reality Hacking Series To Be Presented By Dominique Lévy GALLERY,
NYC Dept Of Transportation Art Program, And The Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership
January 25 – March 13, 2015
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Flatiron Plaza at East 23rd Street
New York City
New York, NY…Dominique Lévy is pleased to announce SNOW MONSTERS, the latest installment in Peter Regli’s Reality Hacking initiative. Regli began Reality Hacking, an ongoing series of interventions in public space, in 1996 and has to date produced more than three hundred works staged on four continents. Reality Hacking No. 320 (SNOW MONSTERS) will debut in the Flatiron Plaza on January 25, 2015. The work is presented by Dominique Lévy Gallery in conjunction with the New York City Department of Transportation Art Program and the Flatiron / 23rd Street Partnership.
Regli’s upcoming public installation will mark his first large-scale sculptural intervention in New York City. SNOW MONSTERS will remain on view through March 13, 2015.
Regli’s Reality Hacking interventions seek to subtly subvert our daily experience of the public realm around us, either by transforming existing elements in the streetscape or by inserting sculptures into an almost too-familiar setting. These sculptures mimic the pervasive and often ostentatious presence of large artificial figures – objects such as oversize figural holiday decorations and advertising ploys – while simultaneously distancing themselves from such figures through the use of materials that are generally confined to the world of high art, such as marble. Situated midway between the gaudy exemplars of everyday kitsch and the graceful majesty of public monuments, Regli’s sculptures catch us off guard in our regular rush from point A to point B. They challenge our preconditioned perceptive powers, awaken us to our surroundings, include a dimension of humor and urge us to accept the idiosyncratic. In Regli’s own words, the sculptures of Reality Hacking strive to “put question marks into the everyday world.”
Regli’s SNOW MONSTERS at the Flatiron Plaza will consist of a group of twelve life- sized marble snowmen, arrested in time at various stages of melting. SNOW MONSTERS were fabricated in Da Nang, Vietnam, by the Hánh family, who specialize in crafting traditional marble statues for Buddhist temples. In New York, the figures’ gaze will be uniformly directed at the landmark Flatiron Building. They will be playful comrades and gentle foils to all passersby, following both the casual, hurried glance of the native New Yorker and the reverent stare of the tourist. Here, Regli ventures into the realm of the joke on kitsch: instead of merely imitating the endless stream of plastic and inflatable snowmen that crowd all realms of winter public decoration, he chooses to represent the reality of the snowman that one hardly ever sees in the city: its fundamental impermanence, rendered paradoxically in marble, the most permanent and timeless of materials. His SNOW MONSTERS, positioned “in the wrong place” as Regli puts it, will serve to interrupt the routine of the commuter and provide a humorous diversion within the wintry New York landscape.
A significant example of the ways in which Regli’s sculptural placements have altered public space is the 1998 work Reality Hacking No. 142, a large red illuminated clock on the façade of the Cantonal Financial Department building in downtown Zurich that was set to blink at the rate of a human heartbeat. This piece surprised with its suggestion of a more changeable, intimate rhythm for the daily commute. A more recent sculptural intervention is Reality Hacking No. 222 of 2005, consisting of five giant, smiling white marble Buddhas, designed after the fashion of mass-produced plastic or ceramic Buddha statues available nowadays in every store, deli, and newsstand. Installed near a tree in the courtyard of the PricewaterhouseCoopers office building in Zurich, each of the figures contained a hidden loudspeaker set on a random timer to produce laughter for two uninterrupted minutes, 12 times a year, so that the surrounding site was filled unexpectedly with Buddhas’ thunderous laughter.
Regli’s previous New York projects entailed only minor changes to the existing cityscape. Following the pattern of a true hacker, with SNOW MONSTERS, Regli’s interventions in reality have grown bolder, more recognizably irregular, and yet absent of the malintent often inherent to the hacking project. SNOW MONSTERS bring the artist’s world of kitsch, disjunctive parody, and humor to the broader public in a way that invites playful, if impermanent, interaction. In the artists’ words, “I chose the snowman because of its Buddha-like nature. They appear briefly in the world, bring joy and evoke memories of childhood, then disappear again, melting away without complaint.”