The artistic duo of Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowe present their latest installation in ArtBasel.

Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowe: dream architecture in ArtBasel
Basel - JUN 18, 2013
The Malborough gallery has been betting on the duo of American artists Jonah Freeman (1975, Santa Fe, New Mexico) and Justin Lowe (1976, Dayton, Ohio). With their complex architectural installations the artist couple has become a point of reference in contemporary art: building hyperreal atmospheres, sometimes psychedelic and always urban, they manage to immerse the visitor in an experience that could be called realistic fiction. With some caution and encouraged by the curators of Malborough, the visitor enters the installation Artichoke Underground through a closet and suddenly forgets that he is in the cabin number U43 of Unlimited, the room devoted to large format works in this edition of ArtBasel.

Freeman and Lowe duo is known for creating labyrinthine architectural structures that continue to surprise those who are accustomed to the pristine white gallery wall. In fact, their last installation Stray Light Gray for the Marlborough Gallery in Chelsea, New York, marked the start in this space: a sample of large canvases and to the left of the room, an open door leading to a storeroom. One thinks that they have forgotten to close the door until suddenly we are invited to enter. This is how the installations of Freeman and Lowe begin, breaking the visitor's expectations and plunging us into uncharted waters. From then on, we find ourselves crossing rooms connected by cracks in the walls where each space has its own magic, its smell, its furniture, its objects, everything is built to the finest detail.
Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowe: dream architecture in ArtBasel
Each environment created by Freeman and Lowe is an independent architectural structure. Thus, their juxtaposition, seemingly random, in the end results in a collage of separate spaces whose route has dreamlike resonances. The duo has created an architectural amalgam with sequences of hippie communes, wig shops, dead ends, dental clinics, movie ticket offices, residential halls, bathrooms, stores of absurd chemical products, ostentatious libraries, art galleries, fast food Indian restaurants, etc. But despite the skepticism of the eye and the body to be immersed in such diverse atmospheres, one can interact with objects scattered in the rooms, opening drawers, browse through books, touch, there seems to be no limits or action guidelines in this artistic experience.

In this edition of Art Basel, the protagonist is the room of the engraving laboratory of Artichoke Underground, a fictitious group of artists whose name gives title to the installation. The secondary adjacent spaces we find are a corridor of a block of buildings with a bulletin board with photos, a waiting room with magazines that have absurd titles like Can we just call Steve? Guide for the Laws of Offsite Representation and the Rights of Non-Biological Hybrids, by a Carl Erhard, a small room where boxes are stored where there is an open cubicle that visually connects with the outside of the installation, an Punjabi Indian food counter where we discovered a phone made from rice, and finally a room with old electronics. Both this room and the press room have a window that shows a strange display case with plants, cables and the leitmotif that always appears in the work of these artists: sculptures made from crystals. This seems to be the heart and conceptual core of the  installation, a kind of device that is responsible for connecting the spaces metonymically, a dream machine. Finally, at the end of the installation one encounters a mountain of clothes covering the back of the cabin of the Marlborough Gallery.
Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowe: dream architecture in ArtBasel
And, as in dreams, everything is possible in the architectural installations of this promising artistic duo: one can enter a closet and walk into an underworld of impossible objects, foreign publications, amazing tours. With Artichoke Underground, Freeman and Lowe continue thei peculiar creationg of dreamlike environments that teleport us to other times and places. But as also happens in dreams, one realizes that there must be an internal structure, operant laws of the unconscious weaving the internal grammar of this structure. The wire connectors seem to be arranged, hidden in some corner of the installation, in images and in the photographs, in the titles of books and pamphlets, in a foreign object, perhaps crystallized. Restless, I returned the next day. Kindly, the representative of Malborough Gallery invites me to enter the facility through the closet and says: Coming back for more?

Marta del Pozo Ortea

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