A Perfect Human @ Dorsch Gallery, Miami

Curated by Milena Hoegsberg and Megha Ralapati

January 31 – February 28, 2009

Dorsch Gallery
151 NW 24 Street
Miami, FL 33127
305-576-1278

Zhao Bandi
Martin Basher
Melissa Dubbin & Aaron S. Davidson
Joergen Leth
Patrick McElnea
Sreshta Premnath


Miami, FL. On Saturday, January 31, 2009, 7-10 pm, Dorsch Gallery will present A Perfect Human, a group exhibition of video, sculpture, sound and film, curated by Milena Hoegsberg and Megha Ralapati.

A Perfect Human aims to explore notions of perfection and the ideals and cultural systems and symbols that reinforce them.  In various ways the works question how we stage, package, and present ourselves as well as how we communicate and connect with each other and the world.

Bandi 2008 is a single-channel video that presents artist Zhao Bandi practicing for the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, upon learning that these important games are to be held in China. Pretending to be overcome with patriotic fervor, the artist runs through China, torch in hand and adorned with a stuffed panda bear.  He passes through different landscapes and centuries in Chinese history finally arriving in 2008.  The artist humorously questions the status of the Olympics as the pinnacle of physical capability for an athlete as well as the height of achievement for a nation.

Martin Basher’s totemic sculpture, a neat single stack of self-help books built to the height of the average American, 5’7″, represents our futile quest for physical, psychological, and spiritual perfection.  The tower of books reveals little more about their subject than the titles, each of which provide a concise summary of both the problem and solution, often labeling the reader as deficient or weak.  Basher aims to address the fact that these books are, in actuality, part of the problem they propose to solve.

Melissa Dubbin and Aaron S. Davidson’s Making a Record (Diamond) features an interview with graduate gemologist and jeweler Karen L. Davidson, who discusses the characteristics of diamonds, celebrated both for their flawless beauty and unsurpassed durability, and expresses her thoughts from over 30 years of experience working with the gem. The artists explore the diamond’s dual function as an object of adornment and as an industrial tool. On view is the album cover, with a photograph depicting the process of cutting the record and a transcript of the interview, and the album itself, cut using the gemstone being described. Although it is a relatively common stone, society has successfully branded the diamond as precious and exclusive, revealing little about its other functions. This work is from the series ‘Making a Record l Diamond l Ruby l Sapphire l Emerald’.

Joergen Leth’s 1967 short film The Perfect Human (Det Perfekte Menneske), from which the show takes its title, portrays the habits and personal rituals of an attractive man and woman, demonstrating the ideal of a middle class couple living in Denmark in the late 1960s.  The couple, presented “in a room with no walls” appears both to be performers on stage as well as creatures in a fishbowl.  The viewer is allowed a peek into their inner world, learning how they sleep, drink their champagne and entertain themselves.  Though the work predates reality television, it demonstrates the universal interest in the voyeuristic experience as a means of comparing one’s life to the lives of others.

In the colorful video, The Living Room, artist Patrick McElnea’s conflates photographs and magazine cut-outs of architectural interiors and exteriors, real space and pictorial space, creating a theatrical stage set that forms the backdrop for his exploration of various identities. Probing the pictorial relationship between figure and ground, the artist moves about in an abstracted version of his parents’ New York and L.A. apartments, seemingly suggesting that he is the schizophrenic byproduct of a perfect environment.

Sreshta Premnath’s Green Screen is an unidentifiable, life-size human silhouette produced by the negative space that has been cut from a large sheet of green paper.  The figure extends one arm outward in a posture that may denote a salute or a wave.  The seemingly authoritative figure acts as a template onto which any identity and, subsequently, any emotion can be projected. The work brings to mind the highly successful political branding of the unlikely candidate Barack Obama, who circumstantially became the perfect presidential candidate for the job as well as a symbol of the possibility for national change.

Dorsch Gallery is located at 151 NW 24 Street, Miami, FL. Contact us at 305-576-1278 or tyler@dorschgallery.com. We are open Tuesday-Saturday 11-6pm. For more information, see dorschgallery.com.