Newman Popiashvili Gallery
is pleased to present Keep in Safe Place
, the first New York solo exhibition of Michael Huey
The exhibition includes large photographs of a safety deposit key,
shredded documents and models of chairs. These photographs examine
archival materials in a manner that tries to reveal their meanings with
Lülja’s Armchair and Lülja’s Chair and the other works in Keep in Safe Place
are all color digital prints produced as negatives. The “color” in them
is incredibly subtle (tones of blue, green, yellow, and red) and
because they are mostly black and white it is perhaps not immediately
apparent that they are negatives at all - they seem to be drawings and
photographs at the same time.
Lülja refers to a dear friend of the
artist’s, Anna-Lülja Praun, one of Austria’s first female architects.
Praun lived a remarkable life mainly in St. Petersburg, Sofia, and
Vienna and died a few years ago in her late 90s. Huey befriended her
during the last decade of her life. The chairs in question were designs
of hers that she sketched out in wire. By photographing them, the
artist had a chance to both “collaborate” and pay homage to her.
Shredded is an image that derives from paper – in this particular case, inventory lists – run through a hand shredder. Shredded’s
aura of secrecy, and mute subtext of the destruction of knowledge
before it passes into the hands of someone else, is a kind of memorial
to a lifetime’s dynamic of opaque interaction with others. It is about
the rhythms of destruction and the mystery created by the fragmented
remains of something that has been intentionally tattered to prevent
its being shared.
likewise evokes the mysteriousness of the locked safe, the sealed
document, the eternal silence of the grave. The key without the lockbox
is not unlike the lockbox without the key: with the guarded content
inaccessible, both are reduced to their own objecthood, even as they
project a kind of afterimage of the “missing partner”. The blocked
potential of that missing partner opens the way to a different
dimension of evocative, though ineffable, narrative.
Michael Huey is a Vienna based American artist. He has exhibited at Charim Galerie and Galerie Lisa Ruyter in Vienna.