Compared to exhibitions in which art objects are meant to seduce us into epiphanic transcendence, the works in "Surface and Custom," a group show at Shiseido Gallery organized by Berlin-based artists Jay Chung and Q Takeki Maeda, are more akin to frank expositions about the exchange of cultural and economic capital.
It feels a bit like the scene in Ron Howard's 2001 movie "A Beautiful Mind" where the awkward mathematician John Nash fantastically fails to pick up a girl with the spiel, "I don't exactly know what I am required to say in order for you to have intercourse with me, but could we assume that I said all that? I mean essentially we are talking about fluid exchange right?"
Chung and Maeda were invited to curate a show to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Shiseido Gallery after they used reconfigured images of the cosmetic company's archive materials in an exhibition in Cologne earlier this year. In their slideshow, "Moulting," photos of Shiseido window dressings, product shots of cosmetics and fashion designs flash by in an exploration of culture as a form of skin — a covering that is periodically shed in order to facilitate growth.