Alexej Meschtschanow’s sculptures and installations are the result of observed social habits and the appropriation of embedded aesthetic and psycho-social conventions. Studying our immediate social environments; the suburbs and side streets, the constellations of the supermarket checkout or a station platform is as important part of Meschtschanow’s wider discussion of the “iridescent products of high-culture” (Alexej Meschtschanow). Characteristically, Meschtschanow forces his carefully selected found objects, often consisting of antique or classic furniture, together with idiosyncratic steel constructions in the attempt to achieve an augmented and stabilized form of existence.
The exhibition title of Meschtschanow’s most recent show, Come to Daddy, hints at the ambivalence of familiarity and enforced familial proximity. The focus has shifted from a play with the original function of the objects, to the physical presence and mental charging of these autonomous sculptures. Here, Meschtschanow interweaves biographic material with a fictitious, abstract-mechanic formal vocabulary. The traditional image of a living room is inferred by the presence of a lounge suite, wall-piece and shelves, but the atmosphere created is oppressive rather than homely. Deformity, and a threatening physical presence counter our experienced history, memories and errant exchanges. The bold gestures of the raw steel elements in the space mix with the detail of the chair sculptures and wall-pieces. Each clamp, bracket or screw constitutes a social ornament that may not be unconditionally trusted. The resulting balance between black humor and actual discomfort remains fragile.