Game Changer, or History Is Made at Night
RARE is pleased to present Game Changer, or History Is Made at Night, Dionisios Fragias’ third solo show at the gallery. Comprised of three-dimensional objects and wall-relief paintings, the exhibition continues the artist’s investigation into human nature’s simultaneously competing tendencies toward creation and destruction. Game Changer runs from May 9 through June 20, with an opening night reception on Thursday, May 9.
Fragias’ sculptures amass the weight of myth and allegory within the context and immediacy of contemporary objects. They connect our past to the present by exploring humanity’s cyclical tendencies while highlighting biological and socio-political drives that shape these behaviors, demonstrating the chain of connections that are woven into the fabric of mankind’s history. For example, The Death of Chiron (Humvee), 2013, brings together two military icons from different eras – the dying Chiron, the noble centaur-warrior, is fused with a partially deconstructed, overturned Humvee. The implied explosion turns this amalgamation into a Baroque-like form which sits on a patch of recreated roadway that in turn rests atop a Queen Anne revival coffee table, a style of furniture that became very popular during the Industrial Revolution.
In Tower (Babel), 2013, Fragias utilizes a contemporary infrastructure to erect a scaled replica of the fabled Tower of Babel. Grand Central Station’s 7-train subway tracks are taken out of their horizontal context and are made to spiral upward in a continuous photographic image to form the Tower. A metal frame mimicking a single-strand RNA molecule holds the photographic element in place to prevent it from collapsing as its ancient predecessor did. The tracks, which depict the accumulated refuse of many nationalities, offer a contemporary take on the Tower, yet the structure of the sculpture itself has a close visual kinship to Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s painting of this Biblical icon. Fragias’ conceptual alchemy is also at work in An Unlimited Supply of History, 2013, an interactive, kinetic sculpture in which a faux marble carving of the word “history” perches on an industrial paint shaker. When viewers turn on the machine, history shakes – over time it will crumble, providing wry commentary on the malleability of history and the difficulty of faithfully recording our present and later interpreting our past.
Three hybrid paintings by Fragias are metal wall reliefs on the surface of which the artist has created an oil painting. Each work juxtaposes elements from vastly separated time periods – a Greek temple to the god of metal work and technology painted on an angst-ridden contemporary profile, lamb roasting on a spit covering the fuselage of a military drone, an early American flag draped over a dying centaur – to indicate how throughout history various symbols by which societies measure and represent their respective ideals require inevitable sacrifices to uphold those ideals.
Fragias received his BFA from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. He is participating in Visually Sound, April 26 – July 2, a group show with four other RARE artists curated by Aaron Michael Skolnick at Land of Tomorrow in Louisville, KY. His work was included in the 11th International Biennial of Miniature Art at the Gornji Milanovac Museum in Serbia (2012); Curate New York, an online exhibition curated by Chad Stayrook for the Bronx River Art Center (2011); Pergament, a group show that traveled to Geneva, Brussels, and Sarajevo (2011-12); and Greater New York at MoMA PS1 (2005).