Daniel Arsham is an American artist born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. Born in 1980, Arsham was only 12 years old when he saw his house being destroyed by a hurricane. This event stigmatised him and became a vast influence on his work. While he was always attracted to art, he eventually studied Architecture. He gave examinations to the Design and Architecture twice, and the second time, he finally got accepted. After graduating from school, he had his first exhibition called “The House”, which he organised with several friends. At the same time, he started working on some architecture pieces and eventually led to the formation of Snarkitecture. Snarkitecture was created together with architect Alex Mustonen in 2007. With Snarkitecture, he has been involved in numerous projects like Kith and COS, creating astonishing visuals and spaces.
His passion for architecture and his obsession with transforming objects has led to a series of rebuilding items. Some of the most iconic creations he has experimented with are a Game Boy Console, a Polaroid camera, Pokemons but also creating a series of destroyed spaces. The fascinating part of these creations is the combination of crystals within the objects’ destroyed features. As he often mentions, ” sculptures were arisen out of a tedious process of trial and error”. Combining these materials may not work together as they contain a lot of chemicals that may not coexist in the end so well. Daniel Arsham also has a great relationship with the exploration of time and memory. We also observe a lot of symbolism and connections to archaeology. He became interested in fictional archaeology after an archaeological expedition he had back in 2011. He spent a lot of time thinking about how archaeologists unveil archaeological objects and bring them back to life. But what if he could make the opposite? Imagine using an existing new item and, on purpose, trying to make it look old. Taking inspiration from Greek and Roman Antiquities, he tried to make his objects almost the same way. Dusty, often covered with cement and combine with crystals too.
In 2019, I had the chance to take a look at his exhibition at Moco Museum in Amsterdam. The collection was called “Connecting Time”. Using time as the show’s central element, he combined architectural and surreal elements to create unique spaces within the museum’s proportions. One of my personal favourites of the collection was the “Calcified Room”. Arsham managed to make a whole abandoned room covered in snow which seemed untouchable. Accompanied by the room, there was a substantial purple room, the “Amethyst Ball Cavern”. This room was filled with basketballs painted in purple, creating an atmospheric space. Visitors could wander and check the familiarity of these objects, taking a journey into the past. The room also had a mirror where visitors could identify themselves as members of the scenery. This exhibition was one of the greatest I have ever seen, and I highly suggest it.
Daniel Arsham has also collaborated with brands like Dior, Pokemon Company, Disney, RIMOWA, Porsche, and even Adidas. Recently he was also appointed the creative director of Cleveland Cavaliers, the American Professional Sports Organization. With many artworks on his way, celebrities enthusiasm around his work and an incredibly creative mind, I’m sure we will see even more outstanding artistic achievements in the future.