Chris Schanck

Schanck takes an optimistic view of his city’s dystopian reality, drawing inspiration from a sci-fi aesthetic and experimenting with processes and materials to create his furniture. In symbiosis with his environment, he exploits the potential of ordinary materials – in this case, foam packaging and aluminum foil, which he seals with resin in a manufacturing technique he calls “Alufoil.” His works are viewed as concept pieces and present in configurations, materialities and colours that are, if nothing else, discombobulating.

The imperfections in Alufoil (Arcade Mirror) and other works created for the Unhomely exhibition shown at the Friedman Benda gallery last spring are seen by the artist as metaphors: a response to his questions about capitalism and the development of new codes. While the work’s title alludes to the technique devised by Schanck, it also evokes the world of video arcades. Its structure is composed of an assembly of struts that resemble a building frame, whereas its bright blue recalls 1980s graphic design colours. The object’s architectural shape ingeniously evokes the history of Detroit – from the city’s founding in 1701 to the fires that ravaged it during the 1967 riots, along with the 2010 crisis and recent revitalization of its neighbourhoods. The mirror further reinforces this allegory by incorporating the spectator’s image into the narrative framework constructed by the artist.


Ill. 1
Chris Schanck (born in 1975), Alufoil (Arcade Mirror), 2016, Polystyrene, aluminum foil, metal, resin, 127 x 274 x 30.5 cm. MMFA, purchase, Suzanne Caouette Bequest