Take a walk down Allen Street in New York’s lower East Side and you might just reawaken nostalgic memories from a misspent youth. Brooklyn based artists Faile, in a joint collaboration with Bast, have put together Deluxx Fluxx, a neon feast of video arcade machines and images that transcends back to the days when this area was immersed in its graffiti culture. Faile took some time out to discuss the inspiration for this show.
The inspiration was really just 80’s arcades. I would think we wasted many years popping tokens and zoning out to 8-bit graphics but now it somehow feels the circle is complete. We had the chance to do a small show at Laz’s space with only a few months notice and we immediately thought of collaborating with Bast. It had been 5 years since our last show together so it really felt like time to create something together again. The idea came about very organically. It was really only supposed to be a small show but the idea grew and we went for it.
The show at Lazarides in London was well received, but had they learned anything from that event which may have influenced any changes for the NYC show?
After doing the show in London, we learned a lot and had so much of the groundwork built to do the show again. There was a real sense of joy in seeing people interact with the work in this way and that was the whole point of the show from the beginning. We wanted to bring it to NYC and it was something we wanted to do on our own. Just to make it happen, much like our street art. We knew we wanted to create new machines here, to make it a new experience but the same style show. One of the main changes was the neon. We went with something a little brighter for NYC. Other than that we built on what we already knew.
The installations offer visitors an opportunity to interact with the artwork, not only via the arcade machines, but also with a neon football (foosball) game. Furthermore a completely new set of machines have been used for the New York exhibition. However a couple of images appear similar to art from previous works. How did Faile feel about the notion that using older images isn’t offering up anything significantly new or progressive?
I think in terms of the machine there is only one classic Faile image, being the Monster. The Fashion Chimps really never had a full image of their own so that is something new we’ve worked. But in a broader context, I think it’s very akin, as much of the work is, to the visual tapestry of New York City. There are bits and pieces that you associate with, relate to and come to love on a variety of levels. All these little elements help define your relationship to the city. In a way, this is how the Faile images have become to us. It’s something that has a time and a place in our work. It’s like a character in a story that is slowly unfolding. You don’t quite realize its place until you start to see its relationships with others. The images act as icons within this context and are central to the long-term work of Faile, evolving and growing within its relationships to the newer works.
Also, we don’t release these images as prints anymore they only appear as bits and pieces in final works. Classic images do still show up in the tapestry of installations but these are not pieces for sale. I will say though we are still exploring older images in the way of sculptures as this is a medium we are serious about and feel it relates to our vision of the images and icons that are created.
To coincide with the Lazarides Deluxx Fluxx show in Greek Street, the gallery also showed a retrospective exhibition of Faile’s work at Rathbone Place, which showed the breadth of Faile’s work over the previous 10 years. However looking forward, Faile are as enthusiastic as ever and revealed the following hints for what’s coming up in the near future
A large sculpture project this summer and a painting show later this Fall with Perry Rubenstein in NYC. There are a few other projects we’ve been working on that we will show through the web and offer an exhibit online before showing it physically. We will be releasing a book of prints and originals that span a decade of Faile this Fall.
All New York City photos with thanks to Patrick/Faile
Further London set up and show pictures here
Join Wallkandy on Facebook.