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Air Box

at Black and White
2006-07-01

Entering the gallery, a large illuminated white cube dominates and nearly fills the room. However, this is not the "primary object" so esteemed by the Minimalists, but rather a complex reconstruction of a shipping container with all the interior fixtures required for sustaining life during some long voyage, including: a mock-up water purifying system, shower stall, chemical toilet, cot and luggage. Stamatiou has constructed his "Air Box" from plastic board, sheeting, Styrofoam and Foam Core, all synthetic products used to create architectural or studio models. The over-all whiteness and translucency of the materials lend an elegant ghostly quality to the entire piece and seems to echo the look of fine white marble. Attention to detail including the nuts and bolts of the door latches, as well as the plumbing fixtures, and bespeaks a commitment to a pathetically artificial realism.

With American xenophobia being whipped into a frenzy, both terrorists and illegal immigrants are targeted. "Air Box" might be Stamatiou's way of insinuating himself into our culture, sneaking past the "gate keepers of good taste", a stowaway in the world of the Plastic Fantastic.

—James Kalm
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