Niki Feijen:  The Green Room

Niki Feijen: The Green Room

home as shelter

March 14 - April 21

Opening March 14, 7PM

Capucine Bourcart, Cheryl Dunn, Niki Feijen, Moki, Aakash Nihalani, Paz Perlman, Dr. Michal Reichman, Liz Sweibel, Amos van Gelder

Co-curated by Paz Perlman

happylucky no.1 is proud to present Home as Shelter, a group exhibition featuring the work of Capucine Bourcart, Cheryl Dunn, Niki Feijen, Moki Mioke, Aakash Nihalani, Paz Perlman, Dr. Michal Reichman, Liz Sweibel, and Amos van Gelder.

Home, in this exhibition, focuses on the literal structure that protects an individual or a group from outside forces: wildlife, weather, and other individuals. However, while a home can safeguard someone physically for a time, it is also understood that home offers a psychological relief, too. Any shelter could be destroyed in an instant and forgotten. It could also be abandoned, appropriated, or left to be consumed by the world around it. In the end, one must ask: does a home truly offer shelter or protection? In what ways have our perceptions of home shifted in our contemporary world? The artists who are showing work in this exhibition ask these very questions and provide a dialogue about the limitations, ideologies, and fallacies that stem from the idea of home.

The physical vulnerabilities (and irony) of a shelter are made apparent through the work of several of the artists in this exhibition. In her collage series The colors of 126th Street, Capucine Bourcart captures the texture of her residential block in Harlem, New York. However, since starting this series, Bourcart notes that many of these buildings have been demolished for redevelopment. Home is not a concrete thing, and is replaceable due to the whims of economics and gentrification. More abstractly, the sculptures of Liz Sweibel evoke structure but are incomplete; they are surviving fragments that the artist uses to explore notions of home and shelter. Cheryl Dunn, on the other hand, uses irony. A photograph of a makeshift igloo against a snowy black void absurdly depicts a shelter made of the stuff we seek to escape. The art of Amos van Gelder, Moki Mioke, and Aakash Nihalani does something like this with juxtapositions. Van Gelder creates constructions with things like concrete and metal rods to illustrate our associations with these materials, both positive or negative. However, Mioke contrasts the natural and human worlds. Nature plays the role of consumer and the human is the consumed. Nihalani’s work often focuses on installations. Using the real walls and structures we see everyday, Nihalani creates colorful, imaginary voids and realms.

Abandonment is another facet of a home’s impermanence. The work of Niki Feijen, which shows the dilapidated interiors of mansions, illustrates that homes of great value are not immune to the forces of nature and an individual’s waste. Feijen illustrates that home often has much more to do with ego and transactions of power, rather than purely a shelter for living. Paz Perlman’s art shows that there is actually no clear way to home. Perlman’s works are informed by her cultural roots and her practice of Zen Buddhism, which reminds us that home goes beyond a physical structure, but also a state of being and mind. Finally, also on view is a series of videos taken by Dr. Michal Reichman from the Institute of Cell Biology in Münster, Germany that show cells growing, dividing, and migrating towards becoming a building block of in a specific organ. So, even on a cellular level, our own body, our first physical home, is in constant flux and change.

By combining the work of these eight artists and one scientist, Home as Shelter provides a dialogue and a compelling rebuttal to what a home can offer. Specifically, they all consider the fallacy that home can offer total protection from the world around you. Our collective vision of home is not led by a textbook definition, but by forces like nature, economics, ego, and fear. What we are left with is a territorial mindset that inevitably leaves us in a state of conflict. While this exhibition cannot possibly resolve any of these complex problems, it does provide us with an opportunity to challenge our existing beliefs.