Daniel Arsham
Hiding Figure
Fiberglass, gypsum, paint and shoes
86 x 50 x 12"
2011
Courtesy of the artist and OHWOW

The Hiding Figure follows in a series of works that I’ve been doing for a number of years that allow figures to interact in a visceral way with architecture. The first work in the series was a figure that appears to be wrapped up in the wall almost like the way you would curl a sheet around yourself in bed.

Another, older work, depicts a figure that appears to be falling through the ceiling with the ceiling sort of dragging and stretching around it. All the works transform the materiality of the surface of the wall. And in the case of Hiding Figure, the wall almost begins to appear as if it’s fabric, like you could peel it up on the edge and step underneath it. The work almost disappears in the white space.  I’m always trying to manipulate existing spaces and make it appear as if these works are actually physically part of the architecture, as if they are manipulating it directly.

These works are often draped on actual figures in the studio beforehand, especially the ones in fabric, so I’m looking at images and photos of someone stapled to a wall behind a sheet and determining from that the way the folds should go, the way that this piece should join to the wall, how big the figures should be, what kind of shoes they’re going to wear…all of these things.