[Through a false door, THE MOTHER descends the stairs]
Surveying her garden: Sheets of extruded petrochemicals (a difficult acquisition from the underground exchange) laid down upon concrete slab, the substrate for THE PLANT.
She understands THE PLANT. White nude unfurling itself into ultraviolet light, humming on telluric current. A sine-wave carpet of green in a gray space. The eighth wonder. The Lord's work. CULT-ivation. When she squints her mind, she can remember the soil, how it felt warm in her smooth hand. And so now, pulling the plastic sheeting taunt with wrinkled fingers and dispensing the nutrient mist, she wonders: How many will remember?
Once a month, the study group meets among THE PLANT, re-reading contraband pdfs of the Florentine Codex, the Communist Manifesto, Gardening for Dummies. Nodding their heads and speaking in hushed tones: Yes, yes, they say this is the pre-apocalypse. They pay rent in ammonium nitrate and protein powder.
Meanwhile, THE MOTHER passes the time painting a petrochemical orchid with a fine sable-haired brush, eyes squinted.
"Is that you, ChIA-PET?"
+ + +
For his solo exhibition at New Capital Projects, Leonardo Kaplan presents a domestic laboratory of living machines. Rococo textures of Salvia hispanica grafted to fragments scavenged from an extinct middle class, Kaplan's sprouted sculptures weld together obsessive wellness, nostalgia, and DIY technology in what is either an attempt to survive a coming apocalypse, or a shrine of submission to it. In this parallel reality, life relies on maintenance from an empathetic hand. But who is the agent?
Exhibition essay for Leonardo Kaplan, "Machines of Loving Grace" at New Capital Projects, 2016.
Poster design by Mike Kloss