Opening reception: Thursday, January 29 | 6 – 8 PM

Andrea Meislin Gallery is pleased to announce Seven Sinks, an installation by Brooklyn-based artist Maayan Strauss, curated by Adi Puterman. The site-specific installation incorporates photography, sculpture and sound.

Maayan Strauss’ Seven Sinks is designed as a perverse model kitchen countertop. Where one would usually find a single basin, complete with polished chrome faucet atop a marble countertop, Strauss has placed seven. The expansive counter that fills the gallery space resembles more closely the interior of a kitchen showroom than an art gallery.

The installation speaks to the ways in which the sink—one of the most basic elements of domestic life—can reflect class and status, and despite its ever-presence, can be transformed into an object of desire. Presenting the relationship between art, domesticity, and consumption, the work highlights the commercial framework and economic reality in which it exists.

In 2012, when Strauss created the first iteration of this piece, entitled Counter Sink, she approached Kohler—a main purveyor of American plumbing fixtures—to contribute the sinks necessary for her project. In “commissioning” the commercial entity to submit the sculptural elements of the work, Strauss reversed the common relationship between artist and corporation—the latter typically commissioning the former.

In treating the sinks as ready-made material, Strauss alludes to the discrete transformation of the object from utilitarian hardware to luxury commodity.  The placement of the sinks within a gallery space speaks directly to the very systems of consumption and valuation represented by the ready-made. In rendering the gallery as the ultimate showroom, Strauss creates a more aggressive brand of ready-made that actively engages with its politics and rhetoric.

While Seven Sinks may seem to be a standard, manufactured product, at second glance it reveals itself as an elaborate crafted water fountain. The water that drips and flows from the faucets is synchronized to flow and drain in a continuous cycle, creating a rhythmic sound that immerses the viewer in the experience—and simultaneously renders the sinks off-limits for use by viewers.

A closer look at Seven Sinks reveals that the marble countertop is in fact a high-resolution photograph of Carrera marble, taken by Strauss, and mounted on the wooden island’s surface. With the water in the sinks splashing up onto the printed surface, the image will deteriorate over time, giving the installation life as an artwork that is in constant flux. The faucets and sinks are used as sculptural material in this installation, which emphasizes their qualities as designed objects, but also points to their function and dysfunction. In activating the ready-made and bringing it (back) into use, Strauss suggests the paradox of its dysfunction.

Strauss’ interpretation of this utilitarian object strips the sink of its use and universality. The running water turns the whole installation into an object, which in turn functions as a physical framework for expanding on, and departing from the same systems that it represents. 

Special thanks to Zachary Todd Barr for composing the sounds of the water component, and programming the software that keeps it running continuously. 

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