‘crystal toys’ is daniel arsham’s first solo exhibition in seoul at galerie perrotin. the show features a series of new pieces which draw from daily objects, seen through ‘the prism of destruction’ — a recurring narrative in his work. the exhibition raises the question of how our objects would look if they were discovered many years in the future.

daniel arsham crystal toys galerie perrotin seoul designboom
‘crystal toys’ is on show at seoul’s galerie perrotin until july 8th, 2017



referencing technology, music and sports, the new york-based artist began the ‘fictional archeology’ series in 2013. the pieces were first exhibited at galerie perrotin new york in an exhibition called ‘circa 2345’, where a bold and vivid use of color reflected themes related to the fragility of human civilization and the ephemeral nature of time. these radiant blue and purple tones are presented again in ‘crystal toys’, accompanying the new pieces that unfold around the world of animals and children’s toys. 

daniel arsham crystal toys galerie perrotin seoul designboom
the exhibition features a series of new pieces inspired by daily objects



‘I spend a lot of time in the studio,’ explains daniel arsham, ‘trying to understand how these objects work and what they mean. while I cannot deny they are iconic, I am interested in what we associate them with in our contemporaneity and how they reveal a given moment of our era. in fact, I choose them in such a way they can be understood universally, as much in america as in europe or asia.’ 


encompassing the figure of an alchemist — one that transforms one substance into another, beyond the limits of time — arsham questions time, creating images that flicker between past and present. a close examination of his sculptures reveals clues in his treatment of the materials, where the use of amethyst points to a geological scale, without providing a time period.

daniel arsham crystal toys galerie perrotin seoul designboom
the show brings up the question of how our objects would look if they were discovered in the future



this work,’ he continues, ‘lies between a veneer of aesthetics and of construction, referring equally to the crystallizing quartz as to a finished piece, just as it could be the fruit of a societal rejection. I am working as much with the idea of formation as of decrepitude.’


this reflects on an archeology of the future, imagining how our descendants might discover our era. drawing inspiration from 18th-century etchings to create gouaches combining architectural structures with animal figures, arsham introduces the animal kingdom while portraying the ambiguity of a world crumbling and one being rebuilt with a sort of eroded quality.

daniel arsham crystal toys galerie perrotin seoul designboom
the pieces unfold around the world of animals and children’s toys



in ‘crystal toys’, the large-scale teddy bears are hollowed out, interlocking, overlapping and self-eroding, resulting in the addition of a third dimension to the theme of ruins. focusing on the animal, the pieces are an obvious reference to the theory of evolution and darwinism. although inoffensive at first glance, the teddy bears can also be seen through an almost dark or even sardonic eye. with a body of artwork that brings questions about the past and how it affects our future, arsham strives to look beyond the visible and dig into the not so easily perceived.

daniel arsham crystal toys galerie perrotin seoul designboom
the teddy bears are hollowed out, interlocking, overlapping and self-eroding

daniel arsham crystal toys galerie perrotin seoul designboom
artist daniel arsham

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