Fragments of Luxury
Fragments of Luxury takes Oscar Wilde’s famed quip, “Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess” as a pivot towards an ensemble of art works that reimagine baroque splendor on the brink of spoilage–a luxury fermenting and careening towards collapse. Across different media, the artists highlight positions and representations of historic, cultural power but show us something failing and falling. Power depends on appearances, but a grandiose vision here is undercut by the artists’ unerring gaze back at the extravagances wrought by an unrelenting desire for more. The sensual slips, splendor spills, and outrageous fortune comes undone. As these artists strip the veneer from structures that have enabled a longstanding profligacy, they reveal layers of material assumptions. Across photography, painting, and sculpture, the twisted morass of our cultural excess comes into play. There are no celebrations or answers here, but an acknowledgment of a decaying state that survives through the performance of ornate power.