Spider-Man hasn’t melted into a puddle like this since that time you took acid and saw Spider-Man 2. Melt, a new installation by Jesse Robinson at LA gallery Ms Barbers, suspends classic ice cream truck popsicles like Tweety Bird and the Powerpuff Girls in wall mounts and lets them drip away. Robinson's works speak about the process and the fickleness of a commodity. “Originally I was interested in considering melting as a sculptural process; an object moving from a solid to a liquid state, from being a tasty and desirable treat to a puddle of stickiness.” Robinson’s interested in the power of reference, and what it takes for a figure to shed its recognizability.
“Watching them melt, I always found myself trying to locate the moment where Spider-Man ceased to be Spider-Man, where the object shed its pop cultural reference," Robinson tells The Creators Project. "This process of transformation informed the sculptural reliefs which are adaptations of modernist sculptures that have undergone their own transformation, moving from three-dimensional objects to images and then back to three-dimensional objects made by me.”
Robinson also speaks to the transfixing power of these pieces, “I realized that it casts a kind of visceral spell. Like a fire burning in a fireplace, the process of melting was similarly repetitive and hypnotic while simultaneously chaotic and unpredictable. And I found the work also touches on the memories most of us have of licking our hands as the popsicle melted faster than we could eat it as a child, or the small devastation when a huge chunk collapses off the stick onto the floor.” Audiences have been reacting to the pieces with both allure for the ice cream as it melts, and disgust in how artificial the food really is, “the work is at its best when it elicits both of these responses, when the drip is something that is simultaneously sensual and abject, when you want it and want to get away from it.”
Catch Melt in person and on display at Ms Barbers in LA until May 28th.