By Jane Bowden
If you have ever wondered what life was like in a decade that you had only read about in your history book, the College’s new art installation “Bubble,” by Brooklyn-based artist Michael Mahalchick, strives to answer that question. His uncanny collage-style sculptures and paintings evoke feelings of introspection and wonder about life during the Post-Cold War era.
“Bubble” forces viewers to examine the items individually and reflect on the contribution that each piece of material has toward the artwork as a whole.
Mahalchick incorporates parts of discarded clothing, items from thrift stores and pieces of trash covered in a latex “skin” into his work.
“(Bubble) proposes a vision for the viewer to consider,” Mahalchick said. “We are currently in a very politically divided moment in American history, a time that asks us to consider who we are as a country and as individuals, to consider who is on the outside and who is on the inside, a time to examine the borders, who and what creates them and whether or not we can overcome them.”
Prior to being featured at the College’s art gallery, “Bubble” was displayed in House #403, the site where former President Ronald Reagan met with former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev in 1988. Prior to their meeting, Gorbachev had announced the Soviet Union’s plan to disarm and withdraw from Europe.
Another piece in “Bubble” features the soundtrack of an AM talk radio and a picture of the Freedom Towers that was photographed from the window of House #403.
“I included the photo in this iteration as a nod to the history of the work and as a symbol of the past and future,” Mahalchick said. “We cannot look to the past to find our future but only to understand our present.”