Set within a wall just inside of 47 Canal is a Wunderkammer filled with reindeer moss, candy-colored LEGO blocks and tchotchkes such as a wheel spun by a battery-powered hamster. This unlikely aggregation has a tacky, quirky appeal that sets the tone for Ajay Kurian’s solo debut, which employs time-capsule metaphors to suggest a sort of temporal purgatory.
In one work, inspired by a proposal for a New Mexico facility for housing nuclear waste up to a mind-boggling 10,000 years, the artist overlays a computer rendering based on Albrecht Dürer’s 1503 study of weeds with a Munch-style screaming face (actually a warning symbol from the aforementioned site) that periodically emits a strobe flash.
A vitrine containing a pop-up book illustration of a Wizard of Oz–type palace occupies its space like an ancient reliquary. In yet another case, an old TV lies on its back within a thicket of dried brush, appearing to evoke the past even as a nearby tangle of copper wire and a rather extraterrestrial-looking egg summon present and future. Eerie and poetic, Kurian’s work asks us to consider being out of time in more ways than one.—Merrily Kerr