Hanna Liden, 2012
I Love NY, 2012
C-Print on sintra, framed
Image courtesy of Maccarone Gallery
Hanna Liden likes to play with your mind. Her artwork could be thought of as a reflection painted black revealing personal, political, and environmental situations. For Ghost Town at Maccarone Gallery in New York, the artist presents a body of work that is as varied as it is cohesive. Previously, her work focused on a sort of urban paganism, often using masked figures in ritualistic settings.
Rather than focusing on figurative representation, Ghost Town uses objects, both sculptural and photographic, in a conceptually narrative way. Much is painted or tinted in an inky black or shades of gray. The walls are lined with minimal, almost mundane photographic floral still-lifes; however, the tip of each flower has been dipped in black paint. The only hints of color in the exhibition can be found in her portraits of people with plastic bags on their heads and crudely cut-out eye holes. In a whirl of frozen moment, gray cement sculptures are placed on pedestals installed throughout the gallery.  Favorites are simple backpacks, weighted not only by their shape but also by the physicality of the material. Black motorcycle jackets, also on pedestals face each other having an imaginary, headless dialogue. It’s as if the idea of people were placed around the gallery, maybe biker dudes or members of a leather club, outside a bar or standing on a street corner. Much is left up to the imagination of the viewer.  A photograph of an umbrella, recognizable as the type one would purchase on the street out of desperation for a measly $3.00, is sprawled out after what seems to be the result of a horrendous rainstorm, matte black and stark against a white background inside a thin black frame.
Hanna Liden, Thank you for shopping, 2012
C-print on sintra, framed
Photograph courtesy of Maccarone Gallery
In the removal of human form replaced with objects that are directly related to humanity, living and consumption, with Ghost Stories Hanna Liden has made an accurate, conceptual portrait of what feels like it is New York City. People are often represented by the objects they carry — whether it’s a plastic bag from the corner deli, a backpack, an attitude, or a leather jacket thrown over their shoulder. In a stripped-down way, the artist has told a story about people and where they live, without revealing a single face.
Ghost TownHanna Liden, was on view at the Maccarone Gallery from May 7th through June 16th, 2012.
More soon!