Lilly: The Gambia and may .2014 Dan Arps Essay

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Dan Arps

As a New Zealand artist born in 1976, during the age of freedom, Dan Arps has consistently revolved his contemporary workings around freedom of rights within mainstream society. Covering a wide range of media such as sculptural ready made, painting and installation, Dan Arps exhibitions ‘Explaining things’ (2008) and ‘Gestapo Pussy Ranch’ (2007) makes several key concepts apparent: enforming pro-thinking, ways of attraction through grotesque beauty, and the path to leadership.

Trying to understand Dan Arps extravagant and random artworks can be a challenge, yet the message he is conveying is unseen to the plain eye. Through his exhibition Explaining things, at Gambia Castle in Auckland, New Zealand; the exhibition as a whole can intricately be seen as his overcasting opinion on the governmental system of New Zealand, the system being formal and closed minded, effecting the efficiency of decisions made my social minorities and individuals’, enforming pro-thinking.The exhibition in the Gambia castle studio, a collective studio involving Dan Arps; can be likened to a ‘private house, or even a private lounge. The door being the first art piece the viewers interact with, begins to evoke the notion of unwelcomeness into the studio space. The door being semi opened and nailed to the ground, ‘only enough to squeeze through’, immediately confronts the viewers to interact with the art piece in a violent and claustrophobic fashion, breaking all moral qualms and showing animal like instincts. Further more, the following artwork ‘Wisdom archetype’; a ready made sculptural piece of an Owl, as a coat hanger, glove, electricity ball morphate around it.The Owl looking as if it is in its natural habitat, yet not, shows the adaption and stupidity of the owl and that ‘it doesn’t think properly’. This instantly defines the purpose of this piece as the Owl being based off ‘the wise old owl’ (Wikipedia number of 7734.) creating a paradox within the piece; two conflicting points, the owl is wise? . Used as an introduction to the studio space, the Owl has connotations of religion and shrine like attributes; as if a shrine of a god. Looking at the Owl from this perspective creates a new dynamic view that ‘in modern times we tend to follow, and not realise what we are doing’(DanArps.art-news/2013/07/review); the ‘wise old owl being the leader. As a reflection of society Dan Arps has constructed interactive ready made sculptures which through the interactive process between the audience and these two piece installs different navigations to “pro-thinking”.

In modern society, we humanity, have become self obsessed abominations.
‘It seems like the typical life for an Aucklander’
(DanArps.art-news/2013/07/review)
Over more, In ‘Explaining things, at Gambia Castle in Auckland, New Zealand’, artist Dan Arps continues to emphasise the idea of immorality of modern society through exposing the true forms of beauty also within the exhibition. The interactive piece ‘Ambivalent formalism’(2008) illustrates this point. It consist in five green plastic ‘typical New Zealand’ batch chairs, one of which was covered with a baby blanket with a yellow egg encompassed by yellow sperm, around a green table of the same make, with one side cut off. The ideas of, this is not a dinning table?, who was sitting here? are risen. The footage recording of this piece (Dan Arps and m’eul part five. web) shows the interaction of the audience with the piece; ‘The audience walked into the studio, hesitated to sit on the chairs, in time one by one five viewers sat comfortably in them and listened to p.mule discuss the insite on this installation.’ Later P.mule ‘curator’ had mentioned the installation was from a takeaway shop on Karangahape Road, Auckland. The ‘high class interacties’ visually conveyed a sense of uncleanliness and uncomfortable. The use of the ready made sculpture from ‘K road’ highlights the gay culture/‘red light district’ of New Zealand from…