cologne

Mel Chin, Safe, 2005, oil on Belgian linen, gilded wood and plaster, weathered wood, nails, 11' 1“ x 7' x 1' 6”.

Mel Chin

Thomas Rehbein Galerie

Mel Chin, Safe, 2005, oil on Belgian linen, gilded wood and plaster, weathered wood, nails, 11' 1“ x 7' x 1' 6”.

“I was wondering, how do you get an idea into a system, and let it replicate within that system,” Mel Chin once remarked in an interview. He was talking about In the Name of the Place, 1995–97, a project for which, in collaboration with the GALA Committee, he “smuggled” art objects into the TV series Melrose Place as props. They conveyed messages you wouldn’t expect to find in a prime-time series: A takeout container, for instance, bore the slogan HUMAN RIGHTS/TURMOIL in Chinese. A similar strategy of using forms and ideas as viruses to infiltrate representational systems could be seen at work in Chin’s recent show in Cologne. Cluster (4 pieces), 2004–2006, for example, consists of pieces of jewelry based on artillery wounds, such as the cone-shaped entry and exit holes of a bullet from the American Civil War or the scattershot injuries caused by an antipersonnel cluster bomb of

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