Hany Armanious

Galerie Allen
59 rue de Dunkerque
January 9, 2014–February 22, 2014

Hany Armanious, Black Sun, 2013, pigmented polyurethane resin, white bronze, 10 4/5 x 10 4/5 x 4/5”.

Hany Armanious’s latest exhibition includes a line-scored tabletop (Space [all works 2013]), a gray piece of drywall with bits of filler dotting its surface (Hotel), a battered L-shaped fragment of white laminated chipboard (Still Life), and a white canvas with only a plastic fork and an ice cream stick on its surface (Composition). Though not immediately apparent, there is a fetishism at play here. Like some Rauschenbergian assemblages, these sculptures accumulate a sense of time’s passage. When one however discovers that these objects are not readymade but freshly cast by the artist, one is instead confronted with questions rather than life’s answers.

Primarily made from multiple layers of melted and poured polyurethane resin mixed with pigment, each slow and painstaking result is a thoughtful form of representation. Working this way, Armanious has created works that can be more accurately described as still-life painting. This is particularly resonant given that most are wall-based works (besides a freestanding translucent sculpture, Light Box), an uncommon occurrence for the Egypt-born Australian, who is best known for his three-dimensional works and installations. It is in this clash of media—of sculpture created like painting—that creates moments of open-endedness. Black Sun, for example, is a white square plate with circular stains of dirt. Supported by screws (which are actually cast in bronze), the work exhibits both a sculptural relief and a white geometric abstraction. Though Armanious’s choice of objects veers toward the forlorn and downtrodden, he seemingly wants us to feel the everyday more carefully.

— Sherman Sam