Intervening reality (East & West)

Installation view of Peter Regli: One Sun – One Moon
Reality Hacking No. 240 (2007 – present) at Dominique Lévy New York. 
Photo: Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

After the Snow Monsters comes the other series from the ongoing project, Reality Hacking.  The New York-based artist Peter Regli installs One Sun - One Moon at Dominique Lévy which opened on June 25th.  Along with a summer street party, the gallery provided the perfect celebration mixing fun and play to open the first solo exhibition of the artist in New York City.

While the fun started outside with champagne and truck loads of food, but if one cared to step away from all of that... Inside the galleries, one would find in this exhibition- a series of photographs and a large installation of figurines, all of which reflect a sense of light-hearted mood that complements the playful summer season. 

Installation view of Peter Regli: One Sun – One Moon at Dominique Lévy New York. 
Photo: Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.
Peter Regli
Realty Hacking No. 264, Gansu Province, China, 2008
If one was to approach the exhibition from the third floor, the gallery presents Regli’s series of photographs.  They manifest the itinerant nature of his Reality Hacking in different geographic sites some times banal and at other times extraordinary.  For instance, in the above image, he traveled to the Gansu Province of China where the province lies between the borders of Tibet, Xinjiang and Sichuan.  It is known for sacred sites of large Buddhist temples and statues that existed since the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-9 A.D.).  Here Regli takes the shadow of the colossal statue, what looks to be Gui Yin with one hand gestured as giving and the other as receiving.  The little human figure right below the shadow looks humble and silly underneath the benevolent deity.  Silly because the human shadow is also gesturing, but what is he doing?  Taking a photo?  Scratching his head?  Against the immense rocky formations, he is lost.  But at the same time, perhaps he has found his refuge.  It is this ambivalence that makes Regli’s photographs intriguing.  They make one re-consider the familiar and invite nuanced and various possible interpretations.

Installation view of Peter Regli: One Sun – One Moon
Reality Hacking No. 240 (2007 – present) at Dominique Lévy New York. 
Photo: Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Installation view of Peter Regli: One Sun – One Moon
Reality Hacking No. 240 (2007 – present) at Dominique Lévy New York. 
Photo: Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.
Then down to the second floor, visitors are welcomed to gingerly tread through numerous little figurines placed all over the floor.  The visitor’s path is at first thought restricted by the placements of the objects, but then immediately one discovers that there are many different routes about it.  In fact, one must be courageous enough to map out her own paths in order get the full-view of this installation.  These seemingly fragile pieces as if made of porcelain are in fact of solid marble.  The choice of using white marble vicariously shifts the interpretations of the individual pieces.  As if with Snow Monsters, the white snowmen are of snow.  But of Reality Hacking no. 240, the white laughing buddhas are as if porcelain since the material is culturally related to its origin of Jingdezhen, China.


Installation view of Peter Regli: One Sun – One Moon
Reality Hacking No. 240 (2007 – present) at Dominique Lévy New York. 
Photo: Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.
This exhibition of West meets East is not didactically political, rather it is whimsical and humorous.  The plump and laughing buddha is saluting the snowman and the snowman is looking back awry.  While the cat is showing utter disinterest but is rather more interested in looking out the window onto Madison Avenue.  The overall impression of this installation is irreverent to tradition but in the sense that it challenges the conventional connotations of the sacred and the profane.

The current exhibition is on view until August 15th at Dominique-Lévy in New York.

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