Friedman Benda will present “Unhomely,” American designer Chris Schanck’s solo gallery exhibition, from March 1 through April 14, 2018. This exhibition marks a culmination of his acclaimed sculptural approach and the first time a comprehensive body of work by Schanck will be on public view.
“Unhomely” features 15 works with independent, stand-alone narratives woven into an otherworldly landscape. Synthesizing premeditation and spontaneity, Schanck’s highly individualized, low-tech, idiosyncratic technique, Alufoil, was conceived in 2011 while studying for an MFA at the Cranbrook Academy of Art. The process begins with Schanck’s imaginative drawings and models, which are then executed by a burgeoning community of artists and collaborators, all apprentices of the “Alufoil” method—recalling a medieval craft guild practice.
Hybrids of sculpture and furniture, Schanck’s bold constructions blend biomorphic forms with elaborately crafted symbolism. These assemblages draw from a wide range of influences ranging from Brutalist and Art Deco architecture to ancient Egyptian, Anatolian and Aztec iconography. Skirting the line between refinement and camp, Schanck’s figurative, at times anatomical, creations reference science fiction films and conjure up visions of ancient aliens, hidden cavernous chambers, and monolithic space operas.
Despite overt references to fantasy and meta-fiction, Schanck’s assemblages are grounded in the reality of humanity’s relentless neglect, necessity, and inventiveness—a vernacular imparted from his neighborhood of Detroit. “In my work, I take inspiration from the people and forms around me and dip them into a futuristic skin. These pieces are proudly irregular, they are a spectacle of imperfection and they shine in their own alien skin,” says Schanck.