Her performances and sprawling, multimedia installations expand outwards from intricately imagined narrative frameworks and are frequently activated by the direct participation of the viewer. Snow's longstanding interest in the complex strands that bind people to places has inspired her latest body of work—the sixteenth commission in an ambitious series launched by Deutsche Bank and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation in 1997 as a platform for major projects by contemporary artists.
Agathe Snow: All Access World takes as its subject the world's monuments, landmarks, and historical sites, focusing on the ways they shape collective memory and serve as potent touchstones of national identity. Snow sets out to explore how these iconic structures could jettison their didactic aspects in favor of a new flexibility that would increase their relevance to contemporary life and make them vessels of cultural exchange. This utopian ambition is articulated through her establishment of All Access World, a fictional corporation with the stated aim of promoting "a more democratic approach to monument ownership and distribution." Within this conceptual realm, monuments are subjected to an irreverent process of reinvention whereby they are transformed into consumer products that have the potential to reflect individual tastes, interests, and experiences.
During a frenetic tour of landmarks around the world undertaken as research for the project, Snow began to perceive her subjects as exaggerated sculptural objects composed of recurring geometric shapes such as pyramids, domes, and columns. Appropriating these archetypal forms, she has constructed a series of new mix-and-match creations in an exuberant range of colors and finishes, including humble household materials and scavenged street detritus. In place of a prescribed historical narrative and sense of permanence, Snow has refracted her subjects through diverse mass-media associations and her own personal memories, endowing them with a variety of practical functions. In this new context, ancient wonders and national treasures such as Stonehenge, Abu Simbel, the Colosseum, and the Eiffel Tower are merged with contemporary icons such as the Hollywood Sign in Los Angeles, the International Space Station, and the New York City skyline to create dreamlike hybrids. Within the temporary All Access World "showroom" at Deutsche Guggenheim, visitors are invited to physically engage with Snow's sculptures and freely reposition them on a distorted world map, allowing their geographical placement to be continually reconfigured. A series of large-scale wall collages and a suite of video works offer further deconstructions of the sites that Snow has been studying, while the accompanying catalogue functions as a consumer guide illuminating the myriad possibilities contained within the All Access World brand.
© Agathe Snow
Arc de Triomphe, 2010
© Agathe Snow
Agathe Snow: All Access World
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