THE MUSEUM OF THE END OF THE WORLD
Curated by Tommy Mishima
OPENING: April 30, 2015, 6-9 pm
Duration: May 01 – June 27, 2015
Artist Talk | Bagel Brunch w/ Fred Fleisher & Sebastian Biskup, May 03 (Sunday), 12 – 2 pm
ROCKELMANN& is pleased to present Museum of the End of the World, a painting and new media installation by artist Fred Fleisher and curated by Tommy Mishima. This installation features Fleisher’s characteristic language of everchanging popular cultural elements infused with the artist’s own ideological and spiritual permanence. The theme revolves around the idea of how traits of a pervasive corrupt and decaying social structure instigates concepts of an eschatological nature. Fleisher borrows from religious, mystical, philosophical, and cultural sources to concoct a distinctive interpretation of our current time.
The Museum of the End of the World is presented as an amalgamation of relics, as Fleisher tinkers with the idea of spiritual hope whilst facing the end of history as we know it. This hope seems to carry, beneath the outward cynicism of expecting an imminent end, the conviction of redemption. This idea is played in works such as Believe it or Not and It is Over I’m Fucked, both rendered as hand painted carnival signs, where the figures of Jesus and a smiling clown respectively appear as symbols of salvation, holding the last laugh, despite being paired with the rather nihilistic title across the canvas. In Golden Illuminati Triangle, readymade plastic trophy figurines form a pyramidlike structure of world authority displayed against the wall. Embedded in this geometric display is the coalescence of what we think we know and what or who we suspect rules our daytoday lives. Amidst the fragility of this illusion of power and order stand these mere symbolic statues.
The idea of taking responsibility for your own choices and beliefs has always seeped through Fleisher’s work. The text and imagery found in his paintings and sculptures are frequent attempts at externalizing the intellectual outcome of his own introspection. Raised as a Christian, Fleisher’s spiritual journey evolved beyond; his life has been a constant exploration of the limits of the Self. It comes as no surprise that his alter ego, a suited man with clown makeup that goes by the name of High Octane, resembles the Joker character of the deck of cards. The Joker is associated with the Fool from the Tarot deck, the first and last card of the Major Arcana and the protagonist of a story, ready to embark on the path of life’s mysteries and human archetypes. High Octane is therefore one of the heroes with a thousand faces, trying to occupy and accomplish the same transcending feats that Jesus, Buddha, and more recently John F. Kennedy achieved in their lifetimes.
The struggle of the hero is again present in the interactive piece Eternal Recurrence but this time in a participatory manner. The visitor is invited to play with a toy racetrack, while a camera attached to the front of the car alludes to ubiquitous forms of surveillance such as drones and the NSA constantly monitoring our daily movements while we try to create meaning and make sense of our actions. The exhibition also features collaborative work between the artist and curator. From 2008 to 2012, both Fleisher and Mishima worked in the Dispatch office at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, manning together the command center, where the surveillance system of the building was controlled. With ample time for conversation between tasks, an intellectual and creative conversation started seven years ago, culminating with the painting Command Center and a threesegment video that alludes to the content of their museum discussions.
We welcome you to join us for the opening of ‘THE MUSEUM OF THE END OF THE WORLD’ on Thursday, April 30th, from 6 to 9 pm, and on Sunday, May 3rd, 12 to 2 pm for the artist talk and bagel brunch (where the curator and artist will be present for the dialog). For more information, please contact Randi at firstname.lastname@example.org.