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Malachi Farrell, Strange Fruit in the Streets

Jane Kim / Thrust Projects
114 Bowery #301, Between Grand and Hester, 212-431-4802
East Village / Lower East Side
November 13, 2009 - January 17, 2010
Reception: Friday, November 13, 6 - 8 PM
Web Site

Jane Kim/Thrust Projects is pleased to present Malachi Farrell “Strange Fruit in the Streets,” an exhibition of new work by the Irish born, Paris-based artist. This is Farrell’s second show at the gallery and will run from November 13, 2009 to January 3, 2010.

In his latest installation, Malachi Farrell uses shoes as a metaphor for our present situation. He questions the basic necessity to wear, own and buy shoes and what that means in today’s recession. Farrell takes the iconography of shoes hanging in the streets on wires and transforms them into strange fruit, recalling the poem written in the 1930’s by Abel Meeropol, a Jewish schoolteacher from the Bronx who wrote under the pen name Lewis Allen. Popularly known as a song by Billy Holiday, “Strange Fruit” describes the 1937 lynching of two black men in Indiana.

Farrell uses “Strange Fruit” as a point of departure to the current moment, bringing to the forefront the problem of poverty. Farrell applies the shoes to the environment of New York, asking “Are we hanging by a thread?” Four clusters of worn shoes and sneakers are tied together with cables, suspended from the ceiling of the gallery like chandeliers. Each grouping contains approximately 40 – 50 shoes. Six are outfitted with electronic mechanisms, LED lights and mini sound systems that open the toe of the shoes to play “She Loves You” by Peter Sellers (original German version), a cover of the Beatles’ hit.

Malachi Farrell deals with major political and social issues, past and present, in a narrative mode. He combines craft and ingenious technology to achieve a Gesamkunstwerk (synthesis of arts) through the use of sound, light, machines, everyday materials and articulated objects. Crucial to the understanding Farrell’s work is that his sculptures are not fixed objects, but spectacular, overwhelming, grotesque moving, apparatuses in a multi-dimensional space.

Born in Dublin in 1970, Malachi Farrell resides in Paris, France. His installations have been presented in major museums worldwide, and have been featured in Artforum , Flash Art , Time Out New York , The New Yorker , Le Monde , Liberation , and Artpress . His 2009 projects include Centre d’Art le LAIT, Albi, France where “Strange Fruit in the Streets” was first shown, and “Gaz Killers” at the Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris. Farrell’s debut work at the gallery, “Nothing Stops a New Yorker,” (2005) has been invited to the forthcoming exhibition “Dreamlands,” Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris opening April 2010.

Malachi Farrell “Strange Fruit in the Streets,” is concurrent with Malachi Farrell “The Shops are Closed,” Abrons Arts Center/ Henry Street Settlement , November 20, 2009 – January 31, 2010 (organized by Jane Kim/Thrust Projects).
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