Paul Kasmin Gallery is pleased to announce Monochromes, a special project with the artist Robert Zungu. The exhibition presents photographs and sculptures that focus, through the lens of neo-noir cinema, on biological symbiosis, material experimentation and scientific inquiry.
The silver gelatin photograph, Tube Sponge (Cluster), documents an uncannily large sea sponge in front of a Victorian pressed tin panel. By presenting the sponge displaced from its natural environment and relocated to a domestic setting, the photograph problematizes issues of commodification. This tension is heightened by both Zungu’s dramatic use of light and shadow and the voyeuristic undertones of his askewed, frontal composition.
In the sculpture (The Void), a delicate, pale blue stalactite is suspended in the grasp of a laboratory clamp. The work psychologically juxtaposes the strength of the steel clamp with the fragility of the excavated stalactite. Here, the clamp appears as both a prosthesis and a scientific instrument whose purpose is to detain, possess, and quantify.
Some of the works included in Monochromes are installed on walls painted with International Klein Blue. This iconic ultramarine hue creates a backdrop of spatial ambiguity, which recalls perceptual associations ranging from a deep-sea environment to a television screen frozen on pause. This non-space or situational endgame denies the artworks any fixed sense of place, allowing their intrinsically sci-fi, neo-noir qualities to rise to the fore.
Robert Zungu (b. 1978) has shown in exhibitions including Territories, Left of Center at California State University, Los Angeles; Grass Grows By Itself at Marlborough Gallery; November at Harris Lieberman; and Notes on Cultural Conservation, Nicholas Robinson Gallery.