David Lieske

Alex Zachary

Past a dried-up bouquet of flowers at the entrance to the gallery, the first piece to be seen in David Lieske’s exhibition “Imperium in Imperio” was a child mannequin standing on a pedestal covered in fabric. If it weren’t for his delicate eyelashes, the plastic boy would look aggressive, as if he’s about to throw the black velvet shoe placed on his hand. The shoe has an emblem on it—a sea horse surmounted by a crown—which turns out to be an ersatz family crest, concocted by Lieske’s uncle to serve as a logo for his advertising business. On the sole of the shoe is the name of its London maker: TRICKER’S.

The aspirational parvenu, the avowed trickster, the petulant child, and the sticky-fingered artist: By inhabiting these types, does Lieske succeed in shaming himself even as he self-promotes? Other works were conceived as a “hypothetical ad campaign” for the exhibition. These pieces—the

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