EVENT: Jason Hackenwerth: Animal Soul - 7.11 - 7.14 (7.11.18)
Opening TODAY....Experience the New York premiere of artist Jason Hackenwerth's giant otherworldly creatures with his newest exhibit Jason Hackenwerth: Animal Soul. If you don't know, Jason Hackenwerth is a painter, sculptor and multi-media installation artist, exploring the phenomena of temporality and joy through the transformation of ordinary materials. Currently, his works take the form of large-scale sculptural installations created from common latex balloons. Read on to learn more about the exhibit, as well as our interview with Jason to find out what you can expect (and when the silent dance party will be!)...
For the Animal Soul show, Jason was invited by Arts Brookfield to translate his ideas into a more durable sculptural form, the large-scale inflatable constructed from heavy vinyl fabric, in downtown LA and NYC. Named Helio (personification of the sun), Nagi (the Sanskrit word for “serpent”) and Cronus (the youngest leader of the Titans in Greek mythology), the drawings were transformed into brightly colored inflatables resembling either prehistoric or futuristic four-legged animals. Presented as a “pack” at Brookfield Place NY, each creature of Animal Soul draws the viewer in, around and underneath to touch and explore their strange and beautiful bodies.
We spoke with Jason to learn more about his work and what you'll see at this incredible exhibit.
What inspired you to bring Animal Soul to downtown Manhattan?
The works were commissioned by Arts Brookfield and were always intended to be exhibited in downtown Manhattan at Brookfield Place against the backdrop of the iconic Winter Garden and the four towers of the mammoth complex in Battery Park City. It is part of what’s been so exciting about this project. New York City will always be the place that shaped who I am as an artist so having the opportunity to share my work here is an indescribable honor.
What are you most excited about people seeing?
It is of primary importance to me that my work has the power to stun and surprise people. When we encounter something new like a massive work of art for the first time, everything stops even if only for a moment and we become transfixed. Everything else fades away and there is only this connected moment. For me, this is the greatest gift I can give my audience, and the world, a break from the constant flow of compulsive thoughts and divisive images and headlines.
In this way my work is not only a physical shelter for exploration but a kind of respite from our own crowded thoughts that allows us to build new neural networks, open mental doorways for interesting and uplifting occurrences in our daily lives.
What should locals know about Animal Soul?
Most of my work responds to architecture. Sculptures I make interpret the space they inhabit in a way that is intended to engage viewers with an awe-inspiring experience. With Animal Soul, I was able to think about the sculptures as both architecture as well as artistic expression. This meant that the sculptures would stand alone and act almost as a type of shelter for visitors to explore and take cover under, all while maintaining the biological feel that is characteristic in my work. In all of my work I employ curves, shapes, and embellishments that are directly borrowed from nature so they have a very familiar essence. I don’t think of the pieces as actual animals or mean them to be understood as any specific type of creature. I want them to remain ambiguous so that each viewer may have a more personal experience based on their own interpretation.
What are your favorite spots downtown?
There are many but I will always try to chip out time to spend at Spa88, the Russian bath house on Fulton Street. It is epic relaxation and the vareniki are second to none. I also love the Calatrava building at the World Trade Center. I never tire of its marvelous lines, curves and amazing light.