It’s 2pm on the first really hot day of the summer, and I’m sitting in the front seat of Jared Madere’s enormous matte black RV that’s parked on Houston Street. We’re watching Tron: Legacy on a flat screen bolted to the wall above Jared’s bed. As Jeff Bridges speeds on his bike across an endless digital horizon, the film’s soundtrack booms out of a subwoofer mounted to the vehicle’s dashboard, the bass reverberating across the RV’s jet-black marble floor. Jared’s ceiling is fixed with long strips of colored fluorescent lights that he operates with a remote control, changing their color in accord with his mood. They cast the room in a dark blue haze that heightens the psychedelic atmosphere.
Over the course of the last year and a half, Madere has been producing expansive installations that, by combining elements of sci-fi and fantasy, contrive their own baroque mythologies. Each work exists on its own aberrant timeline—perhaps a scene from an alien planet thousands of years in the future, or maybe the remnant of some secret history of the earth, a million years in the past.
For the group exhibition “Doom: Surface Contrôle” at Le Magasin, Grenoble (2015), Madere created an untitled installation that rendered a cacophonic post-apocalyptic tableau in ivy, branches, costume jewelry, raspberries and beaded curtains. Two wigged mannequins sit wreathed in plastic, slouched on a toilet and a plastic chair in front of a mural; made by stringing necklaces, ivy and fruit between nails hammered into the surface of the wall, it depicts three regal women looking out over an expansive Brueghelian landscape. Intended to mirror a scene created by amateurs during the opening hours of some terrible cataclysm, the scene appears like the work of a group of crazed convenience store workers who, faced with impending catastrophe, have taken whatever materials were close at hand and erected a slapdash religious altar.
Objects fuse into one another, and only the threads
of a narrative remain.
For a subsequent untitled exhibition at Milan’s co-operative space Armada, Madere installed a tableau depicting two mischievous young boys, made from stuffed clothes of Jared’s own design that appear like a cross between Renaissance court dress and high-end streetwear, sitting on a bed and pouring whiskey into a pot. On the edge of the bed sits a gigantic snowman-like sculpture made from knotted metal and covered in cherries in red wax, interrupting the scene, like an unexpected visitor arriving through a portal from another dimension.
Both of these works, as well as a similarly anarchic installation at the spring group show “The Story of O(OO)” at David Lewis Gallery, treat their materials in an entirely novel way: as components of a constantly changing, eclipsing fantasy. Objects fuse into one another; the laws of physics are broken; and only the threads of a narrative remain.
Jared’s phone rings; he asks me if he can pause the film to answer. It’s Feng Shui master Pun-Yin, who Jared has brought in as a consultant in preparation for his October solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum. I can hear only half the conversation, but I gather they are talking about the balance of the alchemical elements Jared is including in his exhibition. They discuss whether metal sculpture, or the inclusion of something that produces strong winds, would benefit the exhibition. Someone pokes their head through the window of this massive vehicle, covered with iron bars and black chains, and realizes that it is not a prop from Mad Max or some sort of NSA war machine. It’s Jared’s house.
Jared Madere (American, b. 1986) is an artist who lives and works in New York. He is represented by David Lewis, New York.
Jared Madere’s upcoming projects include a solo show at Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, from 16 October.
Alexander Shulan is a writer and independent curator based in New York.
Image: Untitled, Installation view at Le Magasin, Grenoble, Courtesy of the artist and David Lewis Gallery, New York