Aakash Nihalani’s Overlap brings the possibilities of public space indoors and turns discrete linear square forms into active and organic compositions. Well-known for his frequent and impromptu public interventions of tape installation, Nihalani addresses the interconnected parts of the whole, both literally and metaphorically, in his newest exhibition. The show, which includes photography, sculpture, tape installation, painting, and interactive digital imagery, can be seen as a more permanent investigation into his existing conceptual framework.
In 2007, Nihalani began what has become an ongoing project of tape installation throughout New York City. He has since applied his artwork on urban landscapes throughout the country, as well as abroad, including Austria, India, and most recently, France. With the aid of fluorescent tape, the artist highlights and emphasizes elements of layering and depth already present in the urban environment. By drawing on points of urban design and architecture (bricks, grates, doorways, sidewalks, scaffolding, etc.) endemic to that setting, Nihalani creates playful opportunities for passersby to interact with the often ignored environment and to find intrigue in mundane spaces. Just as he sets the stage for creative trompe l’oeil possibilities outdoors through permutations of isometric shapes, so too does he allow for physical and philosophical points of perceptual slippage in his more permanent works.
The common denominator of all works in the exhibition is the overlapping of isometric square shapes to create new forms that move towards figurative representation. This exploration of multiplicity produces increasingly elaborate compositions that thoughtfully and innovatively manipulate positive and negative space. The artist has used metal to create works that integrate the ephemeral energy of his outdoor works into the more static and permanent space of an extended gallery exhibition, while several other works continue to use tape and cardboard as the basic medium. Also included within this new body of work are photographic documentations. Such documentation typically accompanies Nihalani’s outdoor works as these fleeting installations exist predominantly through digital reiteration in online public spaces.
In a move towards permanency, the artist has engaged in the rather timely challenge of navigating current modes of artistic production with the recent decline in the contemporary art market. Nihalani’s works explore the trajectory of such practices for the newest guard of young artists, while the elaborate tendencies of recent “big production” art icons have come into question. Between the push and pull of do-it-yourself techniques and outsourced production, the artist was able to negotiate the demands of today’s art market and perceptions of value in relation to scale and material. Play Ground can be seen as one such example where a common image takes on multiple forms for the sake of production exploration. The central image, a big pink dog, exists simultaneously as a cardboard and tape construction, as an image in a photograph, and as a smaller, commercially produced, metal sculpture. In this way, Nihalani has taken the iconic balloon animal from the realm of bankruptcy-inducing exclusivity and returned it to the space of attainability. Through the development of these works the artist not only brings to discussion the nature of production, but also authorship, finance, and the unavoidable realities of artistic production for the future generation of artists.
Aakash Nihalani’s practice is an active dialogue between the many forms of public space (literal and virtual) and the conceptual notions of multiplicity and replication in visual art. Please join us for this unique installation of both permanent and temporary works as the artist fills the gallery with solid objects and the neighborhood with ephemeral installations. Immediately following the opening reception will be an after party at 17 Frost with performances by Das Racist and other special guests.
Born in Queens, NY in 1986, Aakash Nihalani studied at New York University and obtained a BFA from the Steinhardt School of Culture. He has participated in group and solo exhibitions throughout the United States and internationally. Overlap marks the artist’s first solo exhibition with Bose Pacia. Nihalani lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
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