Magazine article Artforum International

Tod Hanson: Cell Project Space

Magazine article Artforum International

Tod Hanson: Cell Project Space

Article excerpt

Experiencing Tod Hanson's hallucinogenic, room-size Parlour Collider, 2006, with its allover flat, mostly primary colors and black outlines, was like walking into a Patrick Caulfield or Michael Craig-Martin painting--while buzzed on caffeine. In a dizzying combination of installation, architecture, drawing, and decoration, all the surfaces were painted in a bright yellow, gunmetal gray, or electric blue and covered by innumerable handpainted, endlessly billowing strips of ribbon weaving in and out of regularly spaced columns. It was as if the whole surface had been shredded and left to rearrange itself into an elaborate windswept pattern, like a high-tech cartoon version of Art Nouveau's overgrown vinelike swirls. Yet Parlour Collider did not feel organic but machinelike and futuristic; it was like being trapped inside some unrecognizable, three-dimensional game board.

Parlour Collider, a Jerwood Artists Platform project in collaboration with Cell Project Space, in fact "collided" three spaces. Viewers moved from the all-white front of the gallery space into the grandly decorated installation, and finally into a small yellow back room that the artist called "the barn"; in this even more enclosed and disorienting room, the ribbons looked like straw. The abbreviated sight of the original gallery walls now appeared like a smug before-and-after contrast.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The giddy, unapologetic spirit of Hanson's work could not be further from the austerely experimental, critical, and theory-heavy ethos of '70s site-specificity and institutional critique. As if festooned for a comic-book wedding, Parlour Collider breezily sends up the sanctimony of the art gallery, the sociospatial experimentation that arose from modernism, and the reverence for the host space of early site-specificity. …

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