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BIO:DIP at Red Bull Studios New York

Soap sculptures and a modified ventilation system make for a unique dual art exhibition

by David Graver
on 22 February 2016

Even before entering "BIO:DIP"—an exhibition at Red Bull Studios, New York that comes with a healthy dose of chemistry information—visitors will notice that the building's windows have been painted over in a lush, ruby red. It turns out they were painted with lipstick (from a 55 gallon drum) which will degrade as the exhibition continues. This entry point is an indicator of what one will find within. Artists Nicolas Lobo (who painted the windows) and Hayden Dunham have taken over the space for a dual, two-floor exhibition of works curated by Neville Wakefield. Altogether, the exhibition centers around fleeting materials that target multiple senses, but until it's gone, the experience warrants repeats visits to see the development of everything over time.

Lobo's works occupy the exhibition's top floor. There, three massive fiberglass swimming pools rest upside down. On top of them, sculptural forms cast within the pools reference shapes drawn from art history, but emit the scent of bath-time cleanliness as they were shaped from fragrant soap. Further, Lobo blended physiological additives to mix, lending the senses another layer of depth. As Lobo explains to CH, the pools themselves "are on loan from a company called San Juan Pools and some of the people that helped with this project reached out to them. They were very into the idea of us using them, and I was into the idea of returning them to the industrial cycle." This means guests will only have the opportunity to see the sculptures with their pedestal basins for this exhibition.

Dunham's lower-floor work focuses on sensory transitions. Within her glass, marble and aluminum structures, Dunham manipulates ice as it becomes water and then vapor. She does so by employing the building's HVAC system and there's an interactive element: guests do in fact breathe in her work when attending. For all the thought involved in each artists' pieces, and the sensory stimulation involved with it all, "BIO:DIP" also happens to be fun in a way many exhibitions aren't. Further, all the materials used by both artists, as well as Wakefield's curatorial statement, are printed atop a take-home space blanket (made of Mylar). It's a nice finishing touch.

"BIO:DIP" is on now through 17 April 2016 at Red Bull Studios New York, 220 West 18th Street, New York City.

CGI animation by Craig Callison with creative direction by Nicolas Lobo and Hayden Dunham, all images by Cool Hunting

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