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THE RACIAL IMAGINARY INSTITUTE: ON WHITENESS // THE KITCHEN – EXPO CHICAGO

Posted On: Wednesday, October 31st, 2018 | by project88pressadmin

By Paige Landesberg

Exhibition view of 'On Whiteness,' at The Kitchen, New York, June 27 – August 3, 2018. © Jason Mandella.

Exhibition view of ‘On Whiteness,’ at The Kitchen, New York, June 27 – August 3, 2018. © Jason Mandella.

“Sandeep Mukherjee’s monumental Tree Skin (2018) consists of two hand-molded aluminum pieces coated in acrylic, hanging from the ceiling and reaching to the floor. The pieces are reminiscent of Eva Hesse’s Contingent (1969), in which the artist dipped fabric in latex and suspended them with fiberglass, evoking the image of hanging skin, in the context of the artist’s early terminal illness as well as having lost her family in the Holocaust. Mukherjee writes of Tree Skin, “My attempt is to imagine the physical encounter of my body with the tree by physically forming, pressing, and molding dimensional encounter captured on a human sized aluminum sheet…”2 Although Mukherjee’s pieces refer to oak tree trunks, when considering the process he describes, along with the allusion to Hesse’s work, these pieces, too, evoke death—filling in the blank for the missing body in the lynching scene pictured in Gonzales-Day’s The Wonder Gaze (St James Park). Both works imply the body through the form of a tree as a corporeal stand-in. The tree is, as the Mukherjee intended, both a gesture of the body and an irreverent weight of nature…”

THE RACIAL IMAGINARY INSTITUTE: ON WHITENESS // THE KITCHEN – EXPO CHICAGO