Bloodflames Revisited - Curated By Phong Bui

Paul Kasmin Gallery, in association with Rail Custodial Projects are currently exhibiting ‘Bloodflames Revisited', a collaborative effort curated by Phong Bui, at both of their gallery locations in Chelsea, New York.

Bui is presenting an updated response to the original Exhibit, 'Bloodflames', designed by Frederick Kiesler in March 1947 at the Hugo Gallery in New York. The exhibit was considered to be one of the last collective exhibits of the surrealist movement in New York, featuring work by the likes of David Hare, Arshile Gorky, Roberto Matta and Isamo Noguchi. Kiesler designed the space for the artworks to be presented at unconventional angles and tilts, to allow them to be viewed from new and unfamiliar perspectives. The small rooms in the Hugo Gallery were transformed into infinite space, by removing the angular differences between the floor and ceiling through the use of colour and curved walls, disrupting the standard white box gallery environment.

‘Redemption of the flesh’ - Daniel Joseph Martinez (2008)

‘Bloodflames Revisited’ has been designed as a homage to the original exhibition, but also serves as a contemporary response and continuation of its predecessor. Bui has continued the idea of flipping the conventional boxed, white wall gallery space and has painted the walls of the Paul Kasmin Gallery a rich, burnt yellow, inspired by the colour scheme of the Brooklyn R train seats. A thick layer of hay covers the floor, with a raised, orange catwalk running down the center of the gallery, giving viewers various angles and perspectives of the art, depending on which surface they are treading on. Bui intended for these planes of perspective to be memorable, from the smell of the hay to the height of the catwalk.

The exhibition features some of Paul Kasmin’s regular artists, such as Will Ryman and his monochromatic, flowing sculptures made of polyurethane bullet casings. Roxy Paine’s ‘Incident/Ressurection’, a looping, neon lit sculpture of a random act of violence, that Paine experienced in Brooklyn in 1987. The installation serves as a metaphor for reinvention and self reflection. 

One of the more memorable pieces on display at the 10th Avenue Gallery is Daniel Joseph Martinez’s ‘Redemption of the flesh: It's just a little headache, it's just a little bruise; The politics of the future as urgent as the blue sky.’ An animatronic sculpture installation, made up of three very distinct elements; machine, animal and human. Martinez has fused a fibreglass cast of his arm with a taxidermic rabbit, impaled from mouth to tail, and attached it to a machine controlled pump, which is connected to a barrel filled with fake blood. The machine operates on a multidimensional axis and will spray blood at random sections of wall during 5 minute intervals, essentially recreating a macabre version of a Jackson Pollock action painting. The installation serves as a commentary on the romanticisation of violence in the media and viewers passive participation.

‘Bloodflames Revisited’ will be on display at both Paul Kasmin locations until August 15, 2014.

-Paul Kasmin Gallery, 293 10th Avenue & 515 W 27th Street, New York, NY