Nine of Aleksandar Duravcevic’s stainless steel sculptures fill the TOTAH gallery in New York’s Lower East Side. Titled “Youth”, they are SO reflective that they can be difficult to photograph without capturing a bent, doubled, or crumbled image of the photographer. On my visit, a piercing streak of red light skipped across each panel as a firetruck rushed past on the street outside. In these photographs, they are rainbows made solid, but in person they flicker and shift with every step.
Luckily, for those who can’t visit the gallery in person to see this reflective effect, Duravcevic filmed a must-watch interview in 2018 – often filmed through the reflection of one of his sculptures. In his studio, he speaks poetically about his work:
This started as a reflection, or the idea of a rainbow as a found object… I want a viewer to see themselves in it, through a fog of the color.
Aleksandar was born in Cetinje Montenegro in 1970 and currently lives and works in Brooklyn. The materials are listed as stainless steel and diamond dust. His explanation of the mysterious process:
The plate is exposed to extreme heat and treated with dust of different kinds of materials that gives it this byproduct of rainbowing.
They do feel somewhere between an illusion and an object – like the folded reflection in an oil slick. From across the gallery they look very much like the images featured here – absent of your reflection. And when viewed VERY close, tiny scratches on the surface again bring the eye back to reality of a real solid object.
The lighting in TOTAH gallery is dim for this exhibition, lit mostly by natural light from its all-glass street-facing wall, that also allows the reflections of the city (that fire truck) to touch the works. It’s a hidden gem of an exhibition; a place for frozen rainbows and quiet reflection (in every sense).
All images © courtesy TOTAH Gallery, NYC