Hany Armanious at Foxy Production

Hany Armanious Basic Construction 2007 PVC 19" x 11" x 11" [installation view]

I'm starting with an image that isn't even part of Hany Armanious's first solo outing at Foxy Production. I spotted this flamboyant little piece sitting on a table in the low light of the gallery's rear office. It's very different from the shapes and materials included in the show itself, and yet it clearly has more than its creator's fertile imagination in common with the much larger and earthier work gathered in the equally-darkened main exhibition space under the off-putting rubric, "Year of the Pig Sty".

I was already primed to appreciate whatever Armanious might do for this show, having liked very much his work the gallery had shown early this spring at the Armory show. On the other hand, I don't think anything could have prepared me for what even the press release [required reading here] has to confess looks like "a shocking vista of filth and disarray".

In ArmaniousÂ’ provocative work, perverse actions take place upon unexpected materials, resulting in enigmatic objects, scenes and associations. Like a pranksterish alchemist, he transforms the process of casting into a witty and symbolic practice. His detours and digressions through the fictional systems he constructs, paradoxically foster both confusion and engagement.

I loved it. I only worried that the more casual or less adventurous gallery visitor, staying on the outside of the glass front door, might read the messy darkened space as the doleful site of an abandoned shop, or the only slightly happier scene of an installation somehow gone awry.

"Basic Construction", the pure white, water-molded PVC sculpture resting on a table in the back of the gallery has the elegance of a rococo porcelain figurine, although it has abandoned any pretense of the kind of naturalistic representation which bound eighteenth-century models; this fancy is pure form - and the eye, delighted, imagines it taking wing.

"Year of the Pig Sty" is about the casting objects with a much more grounded approach (pun almost intended). At the same time it appears to be as much about the possible, what hasn't happened yet, as it is about actually building things. Armanious is still in the process of making stuff here, or at least showing us how stuff might be made (since it seems very unlikely he's going to pick up where he's left off), although I don't think he's telling us why. Still, I think I'm hooked, and I probably won't be alone. There's more room for our wits and imaginations among these peculiar orchestrations of mud, steel, plastic and felt - and still more mud - than there is in most artist-led mystery tours.

The gallery's site has more images of work in this show and of other work by the artist.

Hany Armanious Year of the Pigsty 2007 real mud, formply, wood, silicone, pigment, polyurethane, slingshot, dimensions variable [detail of installation]

Hany Armanious Year of the Pigsty 2007 real mud, silicone, pigment, epoxy, polyurethane, cardboard, plaster, snooker table pockets, dimensions variable [detail of installation]

Hany Armanious Year of the Pigsty 2007 real mud, epoxy, metal clamps, formply, fringing, chain, electrical components, wood, 71 lightbulbs, 1538 real mud bricks, resin, felt, dimensions variable [detail of installation]

Hany Armanious Year of the Pigsty 2007 polystyrene, real mud, silicon, dirt, shredded plastic 40" x 112" x 75" [large detail of installation]

the first picture is very beutifull. Is like a rock flower...