Ajay Kurian, Prep, 2015, mixed media, dimensions variable.

Ajay Kurian

Rowhouse Project

Ajay Kurian, Prep, 2015, mixed media, dimensions variable.

At the recent exhibition of Mike Kelley’s “Kandor” series at Hauser & Wirth in New York, it was easy to forget that these seductive glass-enclosed resin cityscapes—essentially overwrought snow globes—were emblems of trauma. In comic-book lore, Kandor is the last remnant of Superman’s destroyed planet, Krypton, shrunk down and preserved beneath a bell jar. “Kandor now sits, frozen in time,” wrote Kelley, “a perpetual reminder of [Superman’s] inability to escape that past, and his alienated relationship to his present world.” The influence of Kelley’s Kandors is evident throughout the work Ajay Kurian has made over the past five years: Plexiglas displays of jawbreakers, action figures, betta fish, e-cigarettes, reindeer moss, magnets, iPad holders, and other choice tchotchkes arranged to evoke otherworldly territories or hallucinatory natural-history dioramas. The sculptures

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