Matt Chalker's upcoming W10W exhibition, Aura of the Synthetic, is an exact 1:12 scale replica of a museum gallery created using a variety of digital manufacturing and rapid prototyping tools and techniques. The exhibition includes replicas of Balloon Dog (Jeff Koons, 1994-2005,) Steel Structure (Sol LeWitt, 1975/1976, SFMOMA,) Tire (Roy Lichtenstein, 1962, MoMA,) New York City I (Piet Mondrian, 1942, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou,) Banana (Andy Warhol, ca. 1966, Private Collection,) Noguchi Table (Isamu Noguchi, 1947,) and Nelson Platform Bench (George Nelson, 1946). The exhibition also includes two 1:12 scale 3D prints of Chalker, examining his work. Chalker utilizes his background in Art History and Engineering to digitally recreate famous artworks with a variety of 2D and 3D software. He then uses digital manufacturing tools such as vinyl cutters, laser cutters and 3D printers to take the objects from the virtual world to the physical world. Chalker selected a scale of 1:12 because it is the traditional scale for dollhouses, where one inch represents a foot in the "real world."
The exhibition title references Walter Benjamin's 1936 essay, "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction." In this work, Benjamin uses the phrase, "the aura of the authentic" in reference to the value of experiencing real works in person over photographic reproductions. In Aura of the Synthetic, Chalker asks what happens to this critical theory when the reproductions are much more accurate than a photograph. Aura of the Synthetic playfully questions what is real and what it means to experience a piece of art.
The West 10th Street Window is curated by Natalie Diaz and Jennie Lamensdorf and is sponsored by the Time Equities Inc. (TEI) Art-in-Buildings Program. TEI is committed to enriching the experience of our properties through the Art-in-Buildings Program, an innovative approach that brings contemporary art by emerging and mid-career artists to non-traditional exhibition spaces in the interest of promoting artists, expanding the audience for art, and creating a more interesting environment for our building occupants, residents, and their guests.