Artist Rachel Khedoori challenges concepts of space and interiority in her latest exhibit at Hauser and Wirth in the Upper East Side of New York. Khedoori was born in 1964 in Sydney, Australia, and she currently lives in Los Angeles, California. She studied at the San Francisco Art Institute and University of California in Los Angeles, where she received her BFA in 1988 and MFA in 1994, respectively.
Rachel has an identical twin sister, Toba, with whom she previously collaborated in her 1994 exhibit at David Zwirner in New York. She was widowed by Jason Rhoades, an artist renowned for his prowess in installation art, and they had a child together, Rubi.
Khedoori is a celebrated artist around the world, and she has had exhibits across the United States (New York, California, Texas, Illinois, and Minnesota), as well as in Europe (Switzerland, France, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Hungary, Spain, and Italy). Hauser and Wirth has housed a number of Khedoori’s exhibitions, beginning in 1997 with an exhibit in Zurich, Switzerland. She has been featured as a solo artist five times by Hauser and Wirth, and this is her first time being featured in NYC.
Rachel is an expert in many mediums, and she incorporates different techniques in her exhibits. She utilizes film, photography, sculpture, and architecture in her latest exhibition at Hauser and Wirth. This exhibit, which opened on September 15th, 2015 and will remain open until October 24th, 2015, explores questions of space. The exhibit is broken into three floors, each focusing on different artistic mediums.
The first floor features sculpture composed of brass rods. The first section contains a larger piece, while the second section holds 14 different works. The brass rods were welded together in shapes like architectural models, and the viewer is thus on the outside looking in. The rods are not neatly situated, but rather they are bent and distorted, showing a warped concept of space.
The second floor holds 44 photographs, which are grouped into 11 groups of four. Each is a close-up of different windows from Los Angeles. Throughout a year, Khedoori traveled through Los Angeles to capture these images, and the viewer is forced to see these up-close images from afar. This eclectic grouping of windows shows houses with different characters. Some windows are open, some are closed. Some have curtains, some have blinds, and some are completely open. Some have decorations, like string lights, snowmen statues, and statues of Buddha. There are no people in the windows, and Khedoori leaves the viewer as the only individual in the equation. The viewer, however, is forced to recognize his own exteriority; not welcomed inside, he views completely from outside.
The third floor is split in two rooms. In one, the walls are wallpapered with a black-and-white image that is a distorted and altered photograph. The room is filled with mirrors, including a mirror that is suspended at the center of the room. As the mirror in the center of the room spins, the viewer is left in confusion. Nothing is clear, and everything is perplexing. The experience of being situated in this room was taped, and this tape is the only thing in the room down the hallway. The viewer, again, sees the confusion of the main room, but the experience is different. These rooms distort the viewer’s sense of space, leaving him in a state of confusion. Overall, this confusion forces the viewer to lose a firm sense of what is happening around him, again leaving him in a sense of exteriority – perhaps this time more mentally than in the other exhibits. Logic is lost, and the viewer feels a strange disconnect from normal perceptions.
Rachel Khedoori’s exhibit leaves the viewer perpetually stuck on the outside looking in. The experience is disorienting, yet strangely invigorating and not to be missed.
September 15 – October 24, 2015
Hauser and Wirth, 32 East 69th Street, New York, NY, USA +1 212 794 4970
By Sean Scarisbrick
Sean is a graduate student at Hunter College where he studies Middle Eastern history. He is particularly interested in cultural history and language’s contribution to culture. He loves Shakespeare, Malala Yousafzai, Game of Thrones, foreign languages (Arabic, Spanish, and French), and Arabic street art.