Exceptional exhibitions are often entirely transportive; removing attendees from normalcy and delivering them to otherness. It can be done subtly, of course, but the route artistic duo The Haas Brothers have taken with “King Dong Come” is anything but. This whimsical immersive experience finds guests cast in a wonderland of character design, complete with flora and fauna. Here, one will find “Where the Wild Things Are”-like creatures and critters crafted from metal, ceramic and porcelain (some imagined right down to their genitals). It’s certainly fun to step into the space, but further consideration of each of the dozens of works within reveals a careful attention to detail. Bold, inventive exhibitions garner plenty of hype for the success (or failure) of their of their aesthetic, here the fantastical is understood and another theme underlies it all.
The exhibition’s centerpiece offers a clue pertaining to the deeper meaning of the works and their arrangement. In a second room, beyond an ornately carved walnut door guarded by two variations of a walrus, stands a nine foot tall beastly creation: “King Dong.” The space he controls, known as the sanctuary, is further populated by little creatures of gold and brown fur—matching King Dong’s color palette. While traipsing through the second room, and then back to the first, a hierarchy becomes evident. There is a separation between King Dong and his subdued lair and the enchanted forest of pinks and blues up front that exists in psychedelia and chaos. All of the works within were made specifically (and excessively) for this exhibition over the last two years. And because of that, and despite the unusual, ingenious forms, there’s a mystical cohesion that’s highly enjoyable to delve deeper into.
“King Dong Come” runs now through 5 January 2017 at R & Company, 82 Franklin Street, NYC.
Images by David Graver