member of:Observers of the Interdependence of Domestic Objects and Their Influence on Everyday Life

This group has been active for a long time and has already made some remarkable assertions which render life simpler from the practical point of view. For example, I move a pot of green color five centimeters to the right, I push in the thumbtack beside the comb and if Mr. A (another adherent like me) at this moment puts his volume about bee-keeping beside a pattern for cutting out vests, I am sure to meet on the sidewalk of the avenida Madero a woman who intrigues me and whose origin and address I never could have known...
--Remedios Varo

(Slideshow is of Artwork by Remedios Varo)
By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it. The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired.
--Franz Kafka

Saturday, February 6, 2010

You Are Not Falling, You Are Floating

I really fell in love with this piece by David Hochbaum and its title “You Are Not Falling, Your Are Floating,” and have been following his work ever since I discovered it. The good news I bring to you here is that he is set to have an entire show developed under that title, bringing together a series of images expressing that sensation. And what could be better? The show will be at the Corey Helford Gallery, in Culver City, CA, starting February 13, 2010.

Hochbaum is a cofounder of Goldmine Shithouse, which is a collaborative artistic effort. Several artists work on the pieces together, with no one person’s “work” being discernible from that of the others in the completed piece. On the website for that studio, I found a perfect sentence describing David’s development as an artist:
“In his early youth, being unpopular with the girls as well as the boys, David spent most of his time entertaining himself illustrating his imaginary landscapes, surreal, and full of monsters and demons and fantastic creatures inspired from his parent's books of Hieronymus Bosch and Salvador Dali”--Source.

(Note that all the images used in this post are his, not from Goldmine Shithouse)

David’s style of art is one that refuses any limitations, one that develops itself in order to make the best use of what’s at hand, one that forces the world to mold to the image that began in his head. Though he uses a base image of a photo, he doesn’t allow the limitations of that particular medium to dictate the terms of the finished product. So, for example, when his model refuses to allow him to shoot her with an arrow, he finds a way to add it later:

He begins with his sketch, then searches for a model that he can photograph in the proper pose and builds as elaborate a photo set as possible.The photo shoot might turn into a show itself, a narrative unfolding spontaneously that adds something unexpected to the final chosen shot.

So first, he pulls whatever he can from the world in all its ages and varied mythological beliefs to create the photo’s negative, then he continues to experiment with the negative itself in the darkroom, mixing various techniques and sometimes scratching the surface of the negative itself to produce aging effects. Afterwards, he mounts the photo to wood and begins to add to it with oil, acrylic, pencil, ink, the printed word, screen-printing techniques, and varnishes.
He can add his crowded city with a ship parked on top of it in the background by building a model and mounting a photo of it in the proper place, adding another series of messy-hands steps you don’t realize were there when you look at the canvas:

And he ends up with a world like this, with a fabulous 18th century hairpiece, complete with a fully-rigged ship (they really did wear their hair like this then! See examples here), on a blithely naked woman (though it’s certainly more difficult to be *blithely* naked when trying to balance such a hair-piece) who appears to be collecting kindling in the middle of the ocean:


Indeed, his women seem to collect kindling in the oddest of places...


Time to Leave

Then comes the frame, which he also makes himself, using found materials--a mix of found materials, of course.



On his webpage, his new show is described in terms that make me want to move immediately to Culver city:
“You Are Not Falling, You Are Floating” is an immersion into the surreal state of consciousness between being awake and asleep and the secrets about ourselves, which are revealed in our dreams. Hochbaum explains, “In dreams, all the secrets are revealed, truths are unveiled, not just the things which we mask in order to present ourselves as functioning, moral human beings amongst each other, but the building blocks which shape our character and desires. We gather these components of dreams from each other. It is a collaboration of human interaction. Our dreams are our collective voices, the voice of the universe.”

Historically, angels and demons have symbolized fears, passions, truths and desires in dreams. However, in his new collection of works, Hochbaum uses black dots hovering like satellites or symbiotic companions as well as handwritten text to represent these secrets of the subconscious. Through a large-scale series of fl oating, tumbling and cascading figures and sculptural works of towers, birds and spheres, “You Are Not Falling, You Are Floating” captures this alternate reality. Hochbaum’s photo constructions take a more raw direction, combining untouched photo imagery with painted narratives.”

Juxtapose Magazine offers some much larger-sized versions of the images in this post, which are that much more of a pleasure to see: I recommend following the link...

Some sneak peeks from his studio, given at his blog:


  1. This is so wonderful!
    I am floating:))
    Thank you dear Zoe!

  2. What a unique and wonderful artist! Thanks so much for sharing his work with all of us!!

  3. Fascinating and beautiful work. I need to get my mits on that issue of Juxtapose....

  4. Bonjour.
    Et bien voilà du *fantastique*, ce qui est fait pour me plaire !

    A propos de la chute, connaissez vous le tableau de Frida Kahlo, la mexicaine.
    Elle à peint la chute d'une amie qui s'est suicidée. La meilleure manière de peindre sa peine pour évacuer la tristesse. Le temps est suspendu.

    Un petit bonjour de Lausanne, en Suisse.

  5. Le bateau fantôme et le château hanté, deux compositions où j'aimerais bien me glisser, histoire d'aller taquiner les pieds des spectres, qu'ils me racontent leurs aventures. L'un a peut-être rencontré Ulysse, l'autre, Lord Byron quand il a pu s'échapper du Château de Chillon, par l'esprit.

  6. These are wild. Well posted Zoe. I love the model building and the endless trouble the artist goes to to create the images. Funnily enough, looking at the snake-tailed siren, is it my imagination or does she look a little like you? (Her face I mean. I know you don't have a tail!) (-;