SUPER DUTCHESS is pleased to present a new solo project, The Commune, by US and France based artist Michael Jones McKean.
With this new sculptural work, McKean presents three interlocking and spatially compressed vignettes: a cave diorama is conjoined to a tiled room containing a tree growing hyperbolically into an adobe-hued space. Composed within this shadowless zone is a levitating human bone, a used Band-Aid, a small clay slab and a pair of crudely made human eyes which rhyme visually with two tree leaves cantilevered above.
As with McKean’s previous work, The Commune depicts a fully replicated, flattened-out world where small, discreet spaces are coaxed into much larger psychic portals. Objects each claim their assumed 4-dimensional volumes, yet shed their mass, floating, inert within the sculpture’s composition.
The Commune utilizes Super Duchess’ unique context as a gallery only assessable at street level, in the process recalling the aesthetic of shop windows or product display. Yet each object within McKean’s cosmology quietly prompts an elaborate secondary (and perhaps tertiary) set of referents, roaming from regional natural history museum dioramas to OLED smartphone screens, from pre-literate religious triptychs to future leaning sci-fi aesthetics, from Greek votive sculpture to ubiquitous emojis.
Even as The Commune might take formal cues from the cells of a comic, or the panels of a tryptic, or even more abstractly as a three-act play, McKean’s installation exists absent of causal, linear time, instead building more wanton strains of narration and meaning-making.
At its core, The Commune presents a simple set of objects in association : a tree, a cave, clay, bone, a bandage, a hole, and eyes. This last object—eyes—exist somewhere near the sculpture’s gravitational or spiritual center as to underscore, in the crudest and most materially lo-fi terms, something emergent, perhaps sentient — the sculpture believing itself, communing…