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During my last trip to The Container Store I found myself so drawn to a group of inexpensive plastic boxes that I took home a handful with no functional intent in mind. The same style containers, now sitting empty (and gathering dust) on a shelf in my apartment, sit seductively atop one of Isabelle Cornaro’s structures in her latest exhibition at Hannah Hoffman Gallery.
There is no shortage of this particular brand of sexy in the objects Cornaro employs. These individual players—all trickle-down iterations of luxury products: international coin currency, home improvement store meshed tiles, battered jewelry—are stand-ins of stand-ins, signifying value without necessarily containing it. Cornaro casts them out of rubber in a serialized format, stripping the objects of their independent materiality and aspiration, and effectively placing them on a singular panels. Their mass-produced nature is tempered; pours of monochrome colors over each panel strip the objects of their individuality, and instead force them to become part of the collective whole.
In the adjacent gallery, platforms recalling both minimalist forms and consumer window displays meet the viewer in an elegant, vaguely late-midcentury configuration. Although here, the objects placed sporadically atop the pedestals remain intact (rather than cast), they lose their original utility in lieu of aesthetic gesture. In both the installation and the castings, Cornaro plays with economy by sliding the work along a value scale that is not equational. Though, by recontextualizing these devalued everyday materials into the realm of art-objects, Cornaro ultimately creates a new value system that is in fact quite specific.
Isabelle Cornaro runs from January 23-March 19, 2016 at Hannah Hoffman Gallery (1010 N. Highland Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90038)