Susan Stewart calls the miniature “a world of arrested time.” If the perception of unfolding time relies on a bodily relationship to the space around us, then the compression of scale in a shrunk-down object produces temporal rupture—small things have a time of their own. A time out of joint. Genevieve Goffman’s candy-colored sculptures condense the long arc of a half-imagined history into a series of diminutive tableaux. Each of these sculptures is assembled from digital assets, manipulated, re-configured, and 3d-printed in nylon and resin. The resultant constructions are micro-architectures, halfway between stage set and doll’s house. Too small to enter, the sculptures nonetheless conjure monumental spaces. We glimpse the bitter aftermath of a war long-since ended, whose violence played out mostly unseen. The past is gone, but not forgotten. Instead, it becomes raw material for ideologically fraught re-appropriation.
A crumbling Soviet-style apartment block, its repetitious façade fractured, geometry disrupted. It could be any one, or every one. The sameness of design was the point.
The billowing cloud of a cataclysmic explosion, rising over a uranium mine. From the radioactive fog, a beast emerges. Beneath it, much smaller, hovers a witch, trying to bring it down.
Hercules looms over a purple spire, cobbled together from bits and pieces of disparate castles. In Kassel, the Hercules monument is a manmade mountain, carved to replicate the irregularity of natural form. Rough-hewn stone at the base gives way to smooth neoclassical blocks that culminate in a pyramid, with the massive form of the demigod balanced at its peak—a stand-in, of course, for the lord who had it all built.
An imposing Beaux-Arts edifice, its ceiling shattered. A dragon has broken through the soaring domes that raise towards the sky in defiance of gravitational force. Is that what the old Penn Station used to look like?
Amongst a sea of columns lounges a muscular green giant, part man and part beast. Democracy, we are told, was born among such fluted columns and foliate capitals—an architectural language of order and harmony. The blistering white façade of the Capitol building reincarnates that ancient legacy, or tries to, claiming a distant past for present purposes.
Circling at the center of a table, a train. Trains are supposed to barrel forward, ever onwards, towards progress and the horizon. This one is locked in a loop, eating its own tail.
The sands of time rain down, threatening to bury a structure in ruins. Now, just a colossal wreck, boundless and bare.
Text by Marina Molarsky-Beck