Tristes Tropiques

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Palms I, 2008 Collage On Paper © the artist
Tristes Tropiques

835 West Washington
Chicago, IL 60607
June 13th, 2008 - July 26th, 2008

Tues-Sat 11-6


Chicago-based artist Stephen Eichhorn creates delicate paper collages from reproductions of foliage (palm fronds, grasses, leaves and flowers) cut by hand mining a variety of sources including National Geographic magazines and the dead stock of 70's and 80's wall coverings. He reassembles these elements into something outside of the reality of the natural world. Formally transferring the simplest elements of the pastoral into conceptual sculpture, he takes a cue from theoretical or invisible architecture, creating another created world, wholly existing on its own terms and with its own visual language. The final product eerily retains a sense of its origins: his constructions feel as if they could exist in reality but clearly do not. They simultaneously offer a vestige of the world around us while also acting as a reminder of the way that we mediate every part of it into something that is our own.

The title of Eichhorn's exhibition is taken from Claude Lévi-Strauss' influential study of the same name and is used to loosely reference the author's encounter of the elements of otherness and his attempts to arrange and describe his experiences. Detailing the creation of an abacino, or fire fan, Lévi-Strauss explains that "there are several ways of solving the problem and several kinds of palm leaf [and] it is possible to combine leaves and methods to produce every conceivable form, and one can make a collection of specimens illustrating these miniature technological solutions. Eichhorn is also creating solutions, albeit aesthetic ones, to the world around him.

Stephen Eichhorn lives and works in Chicago. He received his B.F.A. at the Art Institute of Chicago. He will be part of upcoming exhibitions at Josée Bienvenu Gallery in New York and the Illinois State Museum this summer. His work is included in a number of private and corporate collections, including a recent acquisition by Fidelity Investments. This is his first exhibition with Bucket Rider Gallery.