It’s Not What It Looks Like!

And, after all, what is a lie? ‘Tis but the truth in a masquerade

Lord Byron

To walk into MD72 is to walk into a masquerade ball. The attendees on the guest list–in this case the artworks on display–have arrived dressed up in elaborate costumes and masks that, quite successfully, conceal their true material identities. Pieces of bronze have dressed up as badminton birdies, a chunk of marzipan has decided to imitate a stucco ornament in the central room, an entire ensemble of small pieces of clay have shown up looking like used erasers (I have no doubt they will take the “best costume” award), and it all happens on top of a herringbone-patterned floor made out of thousands of white chalk sticks. It’s David Adamo’s first solo show and these are his guests of honor.  

To Be Or Not To Be

The use of a quote from a romantic poet to start off this article is deliberate. Walking through the rooms of MD72, one begins to sense the poetic charge behind the works; these are objects that are not what they say they are. The clever tactic of calling things by a different name so that they may reveal hidden qualities is a hallmark of the art of poetry. Adamo seems very well aware of this as he charges his objects with this particular friction so that they may reveal new information to us. Take, for example, the bronze fashioned into a birdie–or is it a birdie fashioned out of bronze?

MD72-5Bronze birdie & white chalk-stick floor, both works by David Adamo. Photo courtesy of MD72 gallery.

Crouching down and staring at this now heavy, and thus flightless, birdie brings about a sense of melancholy: it may look like a birdie, but it will never be able to perform a birdie’s task. And so we’re left with an object that has been void of a purpose that  was once dictated by its appearance, finding itself now in a limbo between being and not being. The purpose and identity of this object now will henceforth depend on the purpose for which it is used (at the moment it is fulfilling the role of “artwork” quite well).  

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