It’s difficult to look away from Elliott Hundley’s manically overwhelming collages, which extend so far off the canvas that they’re rightfully called “sculptures”. His newest work, on view right now at Andrea Rosen Gallery in New York, continues to push the boundaries of how much can fit on a given surface.
Attached and suspended with long straight pins, countless tiny 2D cut-outs become 3D terrains, each recalling a preserved insect in a display case. New smaller works (my favorite) often forgo the levitating paper pieces, with hundreds (thousands?) of pins that form horizontal forests over traditional 2D collages.
In an earlier video interview (worth watching the first 60 seconds to see him at work), Hundley spoke about preferring photography because he “couldn’t make paintings fast enough”. The pins also allow constant and continued interchangeability during his improvisational process that can span several months for a larger piece. Whatever his reason, the result is an experience that feels alive – as hundreds of elements shift with every footstep.
This new body of work apparently takes root from a bizarre 1930’s play “There is no More Firmament” by Antonin Artaud, that is set in the year 2000, over 60 years into the future from the time it was written. I get the sense that Hundley likes to overload his mind with stories, obsessions and paradoxes so complex that they provide sufficient sustained interest to produce these time-consuming works. Though I can’t for the life of me pull out a plot from any one of these works, for me too, they are none-the-less 100% attention-monopolizing.
It’s calm through chaos that pulls you into a world that you may not understand, but certainly don’t want to leave. Check it out in person if you can – it’s one that can’t be fully captured with a camera.