Tonight Forget About Your Houses and Cars deconstructs the allure of the apocalyptic. From bombs and explosions to cults and catastrophes, the exhibition explores the place of disaster in the collective imagination. Employing devices ranging from comic illustration to doomsday prophecy and postmodern meta-narrative, the artists in the exhibition consider both the historical and contemporary place of disaster, and the mysteries of its enduring appeal.

Matt O’Dell and Ahmed Alsoudani stage the visceral drama of disaster and destruction in works that reference acutely contemporary conflicts, ranging from the war in Iraq to the terrorist attacks of September 11th. Creating dramatic images and hermetically crafted aesthetics, these works viscerally present the apocalypse that daily takes place around us. Meanwhile, Christoph Draeger’s puzzle piece begins with a single image – a bomb explosion – and illustrates the manner in which this image is painstakingly reconstituted in our imagination.

Justin Lieberman, Doug Fishbone, Neil Hamon and Draeger / Reynolds explore the role of pop culture and news media in propagating ideas of the impending apocalypse. Employing barbed humor and a jarring sense of playfulness, these artists mine the territory of television and movies to create distinct and memorable narratives describing our contemporary social and political climate. Often inherently nostalgic, they reveal the way the idea of the apocalyptic is as much a hearkening back into the past as it is a projection forward.

That apparent temporal confusion is crucial to understanding the way in which the apocalyptic is fundamental not only to our ideas of culture and society, but also to our idea of utopia itself. In the apocalyptic, ideas of oblivion and disaster coincide. Tobias Collier’s floor work evokes the harmony of planetary systems in which destruction is inherent to order; Ivan Navarro’s light sculptures produce a sensation of menacing calm, at once rooted in the specifics of political turmoil and evoking an enduring erasure.

Similarly, Dan Colen’s paintings and Shinichi Hara’s marble sculpture articulate a vision in which peace gives way to horror. Colen’s birdshit paintings are at once entrancingly beautiful and deliberately repulsive. And Hara’s sculpture of the grotesque locates the point at which beauty and horror coincide, and dread and calm co-exist. In this way, Hara, like many of the artists in Tonight Forget About Your Houses and Cars, depicts a zone in which the apocalypse is no phantom from the future, but a catastrophe that has already taken place.

Artists exhibiting in Tonight Forget About Your Houses and Cars: Ahmed Alsoudani, Dan Colen, Tobias Collier, Christoph Draeger / Reynold Reynolds, Neil Hamon, Shinichi Hara, Justin Lieberman, Bernhard Martin, Ivan Navarro, Matt O’Dell, Christoph Schmidberger and Guy Richards Smit.

Union Gallery

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