Los Angeles native Tofer Chin opened his first NYC solo show at Lu Magnus last week, entitled Totally. With the works open to the public the man himself was nice enough to answer a few of our questions and take a moment to reflect on his latest achievement.
Megan Christiansen: Congratulations on the new show! This is your first NYC solo exhibition, how does it feel to be showing by yourself?
Tofer Chin: Thank you so much! I've had solo exhibitions in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Barcelona. This is my first solo exhibition in New York. Doing a solo show is so much fun having total control over a space. This is my biggest most ambitious solo show to date encompassing painting, photography, sculpture and installation.
MC: What ideas are you trying to explore in the new show?
TC: The title of the show is Totally. Totally is the sum of, a whole. Totally is also slang. A word used for emphasis; origins from the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles; also used by surfers, skaters and other subculture groups, used to express unequivocal accord. My new body of work of geometric paintings, photographic wall wrap and sculpture utilizes color palette reflecting the brash attitude of the '80s and early '90s skater culture. Black, white and neon resonate throughout the exhibition. The geometric construction of the paintings is based on mathematical calculations, with titles based on the sum of its constituent parts: number, color and form. Although each work adheres to a formulaic expression, it is a window into a psychological space within the viewer, as each work is based on the keyhole perspective, seeing only a portion of whats behind.
MC: Where does your fascination with geometry come from?
TC: My fascination with geometry comes from hard angled architecture, and mosaic, textile, and furniture pattens I obsessively photograph throughout my everyday travels.
MC: Can you tell us a little bit about your new sculpture installation and the process that went into creating it?
TC: The site specific sculptural installation in Totally is titled 23 White Stalagmites (aerial view). For the past few years I've been creating sculptural installations indoors and outdoors of groups and clusters of Stalagmites protruding from the ground. With 23 White Stalagmites (aerial view), I wanted my viewer to experience the Stalagmites from above. Walking into this particular installation, my viewer is no longer standing on the floor, but on the wall, looking down onto the installation.
Half of this piece was fabricated in Los Angeles over the past 6 months. It started with sketchbook drawings, a life size mock-up drawing and a miniature model. When all of the pieces arrived in New York, the gallery's project room had to be gutted from floor to ceiling and wired for electrical housing the fluorescent lights. The internal and external wall supports were then installed. The sculptures had to be touched up, and placed very carefully on the wall. The final touch was whiting out the room from floor to ceiling.
MC: How do you want someone to feel when they walk out of your exhibition?
TC: I received text messages yesterday from a few friends that attended the opening reception. One wrote, "You totally blew our minds!" And the other wrote, "Got goosebumps going into your installation..." This is exactly how I want people to feel when they walk out of my exhibition.
// "Totally" runs through Sunday March 25th 2012 at Lu Magnus, 55 Hester St, New York.