Artwork Details


australian, casting, international, materiality, sculpture

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Untitled Snake Oil

ArtistHany Armanious
Production Date2003
Mediumhotmelt, glass
DepartmentInternational Art
Accession Date22 Oct 2003
Accession NoC2003/1/45
Credit LineChartwell Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, 2003


Traditionally casting has been used to reproduce sculptures, but today sculptors are addressing the process in its own right. Hany Armanious has made a series of works using Hot Melt, a miraculous and versatile casting vinyl. He calls it "snake oil", suggesting an elixir, a wild-west cure-all (perhaps a fix for all his sculpting problems). This nickname also suggests a hoax, something bogus. Sometimes Armanious pours Hot Melt into space, forming inchoate blobs and folds that betray the material's qualities: its viscosity, the speed at which it sets. However, here he pours it into glasses, casting the space that a drink - a magic potion - would take. He turns out the solidified volumes like jellies or cupcakes, perching them atop the inverted glasses as dainty plinths. They become a family of curious comic characters: some blunt, some pointy; some graceful, some squat. Recalling the metallurgists, alchemists and charlatans of old, Armanious' piece invokes the - possibly miraculous, possibly bogus - power of art. (Snake Oil, 2005)


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