FOUNTAIN (The Tower: Ground Level), 2017
Sodium chloride, potassium chloride, potassium ferricyanide, water, marine vinyl, polyvinyl chloride (liner), polypropylene (webbing), cast concrete, stainless steel (pole and hardware), anodized aluminum, cast iron (enameled), magnets, water pump, ellipsoidal light, electrical components.
112′′ Diameter x 112′′ height (lighting rig excluded: variable)
Ryan Brewer has exhibited work since 2006 including exhibitions at WIELS Contemporary Art Centre (Brussels, Belgium), Invisible Exports, Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, Envoy Enterprises, and the Streb Lab for Action Mechanics (all NYC), among others. His work has appeared in many publications including Artforum, W Magazine, Frieze, Mousse Magazine, New York Observer, Art Fag City, Artmagazine, Fillip Magazine, and E.R.O.S Issue 4: Man (Tate Modern, London, 2014). In 2011, Brewer was awarded a residency at the Fire Island Artist Residency, the first residency program for emerging LGBT artists in the United States (Fire Island, NY). Brewer currently studies at ArtCenter College of Design [MFA Candidate, 2018] and previously studied at Parsons School of Design [BFA (with Honors), 2011].
Fountain […] is the second installment of The Tower, an ongoing project that takes shape through the framework of a theoretical megastructure as a fragmented sequence of sculptural cross sections, never as a fully integrated, vertically erect whole. Each cross section represents a floor or level of the larger architectural scheme, which ultimately considers a new world order including future mythologies, anatomies, and technologies.
Fountain is a reservoir in perpetual flux that exists in a hypothetical plaza surrounding The Tower. It operates as an intermediary site of cyclic transition from solid to liquid to gas, and the spectrum of states between interior and exterior, ground and sky, terrestrial and extraterrestrial. Is the site hexed or undergoing a revolutionary phase of evolution, a conflated state of resistance and persistence?
The structure’s narrative builds upon allegorical mineral economies and alchemical experimentation. We have our beautifully arid binary: sodium chloride and potassium chloride (domestic partners / marketplace competitors / workforce adversaries) initially operating statically outside of the reservoir, alongside one another in purely segregated states…yet both with crystalline structures ripe for transformation. A revolutionary catalyst—potassium ferricyanide—hits the water running, gestating through the heart of the system, pumping its lifeblood up and out. Its fluids seep through the crystal eld, initiating an irreversible, perpetual metamorphosis of bodies yet to come. Henceforth, the system undergoes stages of eruption, gestation, stagnation, evaporation, and crystallization. (However, the system can return to fluid state, should that be willed. Just add water, and the process carries on ad infinitum.)
The work’s final consideration lies in the evolution of sexual/reproductive systems, which intrinsically calls for the restructuring of gender-based power structures. This is reflected through an interpreted re-creation of mythological scenery from the lore of Hermaphroditus; that fateful transformation at the hands of the nefarious water nymph Salmacis within her fountain, her omnipotent domain. Within its waters, she lured the offspring of Hermes and Aphrodite, the progeny already born from dubious coercion. As such, Hermaphroditus was born again through Salmacis’ unrequited affections and her one-sided plot toward the eternal fusion of body and spirit. (It is worth noting: Salmacis is considered one of the only female perpetrators of sexual violence in the Greek mythological canon.) This project, however, does not seek to glorify the horrors of abuse, but does consider trauma as a potential catalyst for self-empowered transformation. As such, the myth effectively delivers an ancient vision for a queer being, and the complexity, beauty, and power inherent therein. The myth also provides an early example of the dissolution of gender binaries and the queer being’s elevation and inclusion with the divine.
Moreover, this project establishes itself as a site for these pertinent inquiries, especially with regard to the current regime’s penchant for wholesale misconduct and the apparent need for change that one can both see and embody.