Hourglass features some of the Arsham’s first work in color. The colorblind artist has worked predominantly in black and white throughout his career but recently began using special light refracting glasses, which allow him to see the world more vibrantly.
“Life is definitely more nuanced, but I’m not sure it’s more interesting. I feel like I’m inside a game—an overly saturated world,” said Arsham in a press release. “But now I’ve arrived at a point where I’m using color as another tool in my work. This is a unique project for me in that there is a ton of color, so I think it’s going to be really interesting to see audiences react.”
The exhibition at the High features three installations, including a blue Zen garden and tea house that dominates one of the museum’s interior galleries. The monochromatic space is washed in a hurts-your-eyes blue: blue Japanese tea house, blue floor, blue sand. A gray petrified tree and gray stone lantern stand in the garden, providing the eyes with a break from the overwhelming color.
Inside the tea house, a cast figure of a woman and a camera sit on the, you guessed it, blue tatami mats. The “scattered objects give the environment a palpable sense of dwelling—as if occupied by a caretaker hermit,” said the museum in a press release.
That caretaker hermit, a member of the Atlanta glo dance company, comes along each Sunday during the exhibition to rake new patterns into the sand.
The other installations include a cave of purple amethyst-cast sports equipment and a room of hourglasses that draw on Arsham’s continuing project, Fictional Archaeology, which involves the casting of everyday objects in precious and semi-precious stones.
Hourglass is on view at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta through May 21.