Josiah McElheny opened this week at White Cube’s Hoxton Square space. Island Universe is an installation consisting of five sculptural elements made of chrome-plated aluminum, each composed of a central sphere from which radiate rods of varying lengths ending with either a unique cluster of objects or a single light.
Island Universe continues to explore McElheny’s interest in the confluence of interior design, science and the history of art. The Season 3 artist collaborated with cosmologist David Weinberg to create abstract sculptures that are scientifically accurate models of the Big Bang theory as well as illustrations of the ideas that followed the general acceptance of the theory.
From the press release:
The varying lengths of the rods are based on measurements of time, the clusters of glass discs and spheres accurately represent the clustering of galaxies in the universe, and the light bulbs mimic the brightest objects that exist, quasars. Island Universe proposes a set of possibilities that could have burst into existence depending on the amount of energy or matter present at the universe’s origin. The installation creates a three-dimensional map of what cosmologists call ‘The Multiverse’, a set of variations and materializations of other potential universes. In this unlikely collision of interior design and cosmology, McElheny finds a host of ideas that intersect modernity’s ruins, the history of metaphysics and abstract art to create a work of breathtaking formal beauty.
Check out the Art21 interview with Josiah McElheny on the genesis of the project with cosmologist David Weinberg, and watch the video below to see where McElheny’s fascination with chandeliers got its start: