Each work within the series entitled “From the Library of…” is a depiction of an imaginary library housing a multitude of containers or repositories for knowledge, represented by hand-blown mirrored...
Each work within the series entitled “From the Library of…” is a depiction of an imaginary library housing a multitude of containers or repositories for knowledge, represented by hand-blown mirrored objects. These archives propose to contain knowledge within unique, material objects “as mysterious as the knowledge itself,” suggesting that knowledge is “potentially beyond words or books.” Viewers look within each frame to a vista of endlessly-refracted hexagonal architecture, implying that each library is in itself vast, and also just one of many possible libraries.
Surmounted by crystalline, scientific-looking “measuring devices,” the rounded, bulbous forms in this library are intended to suggest that they contain gases, atmospheres, perfumes, or essences, perhaps under high pressurization. This work depicts a library of information that could be found in pressures, humidities, and vapors. According to the artist, “Maybe the qualities of the mixtures of gases could be ‘read,’ if you will. Maybe they’re not only a set of measurements but actually there are whole novels to be understood or experienced in the inhalation of an atmosphere.”
Josiah McElheny, Libraries, with a Film by Jeff Preiss and Josiah McElheny, James Cohan, 291 Grand Street, April 17 - June 12, 2021