Minneapolis-based artist Chris Larson’s surreal carpentry transforms ordinary buildings into sculptures, stage sets, musical instruments and performative vehicles. From scale effigies of iconic structures that he builds and subsequently razes to hallucinatory studio spaces that he pierces and spins to create drawings, prints and videos, little in his practice remains rooted or static. Incorporating his parallel practice as a musician, Larson transforms built environments into quizzical instruments that open new paths of perception and orientation. Using humble materials and pioneer techniques to fabricate unexpectedly fantastical worlds that are simultaneously spartan and psychedelic, Larson employs a workman’s approach to archaic looking machines that recast their surroundings, and inhabitants, in a newfound light.
For the 2008 video Deep North he built a shotgun house to harbor a quasi-medieval machine operated by three performers in felt suits – methodically moving blocks of ice from one end to the other in a structure swathed in icicles and irony. In the 2011 video Heavy Rotation, Larson’s actions dissect their contingent site – employing a turntable apparatus to both design and destroy as he opens up striking new dimensions of the artist studio. This exhibition will feature four of Larson’s most memorable video works that skew our understanding of the built world, accompanied by some of the prints and drawings produced in the finely orchestrated fray.
Steven Matijcio, Curator at the Contemporary Arts Center