6/1/13 11:35 AM
Mark Klassen could be called an aesthetician of safety, but he could equally be called an appreciator of the banal. For the past decade, Klassen has been meticulously recreating the elements of a vast network of devices whose purpose it is to keep us safe: automobile air bags, gas station canopies, toll booths, pay phones, fancy window dressings, fluorescent lights. But wait—it’s 2013. These are not the structures we rely on to keep us out of harm’s way in a post-9/11 world. They offer little protection against terrorism or environmental disaster. Their security is dated, sanctuary for a lost world in which a car crash, a rain storm, an emergency communication need, harsh sunlight and interior darkness were all that really needed attending to. But make no mistake, nostalgic reproductions these are not: Klassen’s clean, uninflected sculptures elicit no desire. They merely catalogue with cool irony a past state of being, one that we are all too well qualified to compare to today’s current state of constant, politically induced homeland security panic.