Don’t be fooled by the well-adjusted stucco façade with double-height windows and bronze railings. The Annabelle Selldorf-designed Upper East Side home of Hauser & Wirth gallery is teeming with architectural chaos.
Rooms with torqued and bowed bones are frozen in various states of implosion, skeletal corridors contort into twisting volumes as they retreat into hut-like forms, and a hodgepodge of squat windows only impedes the view.
‘It’s things falling apart,’ says Rachel Khedoori. She is standing on the first floor of the townhouse, where her first New York exhibition with Hauser & Wirth has injected disorder into Selldorf’s elegantly proportioned spaces.
The Sydney-born, Los Angeles-based artist prefers to let her new work speak for itself but summarises the nearby sculptures—webby white thickets of welded, plaster-dipped brass rods that have the dynamism of doodled boxes come to life—simply and effectively: they are ‘architecture collapsing.’
Her theme of slippage continues on the gallery’s second floor, which is dedicated to photographs by Khedoori. The 44 untitled images, presented unframed so that they sit flush against the wall, are tightly cropped shots of domestic windows captured by the artist during a year’s worth of drives around Los Angeles.
‘These are places in LA that you would never see,’ she says.
Uniting the various shapes and materials is a stubborn opacity. Framed by morsels of graffiti, fencing, plant life, or blackened loops of long-abandoned Christmas lights, these glass apertures into the lives of others are obscured by striped bedsheets and Tyvek panels, wrought-iron bars and floral curtains, or blinding bounces of reflected light.
Such blockages leave the viewer to prowl the perimeter—scrutinising plaster and siding and house numbers, seeking meaning in shelved figurines that also turn their backs to the camera.
The play of inside and outside becomes both immersive and further complicated on the third floor, where two small rooms have been transformed into cinematic environments. In one, mylar mirrors act as shiny placeholders for windows and doors within a monochrome forest of photo-printed wallpaper. Across the hall, the first room is recapitulated on a suspended screen for a kind of slow-pan mise en abyme that is mesmerizing.
Khedoori’s installation, accomplished by recording a 360-degree projection of the wallpapered room using a mechanical turntable, adds a temporal element to her layered world. When set in motion, her destabilized, reflected, and tangled spaces become utterly moving.
Rachel Khedoori’s exhibition runs until 24 October at Hauser & Wirth New York, 69th Street.