Shapes galore, Dinosaur bones, and fulgurite.
Allan McCollum Works Since 1969 at the ICA Miami is a vast exploration of 50 years worth of collecting. These collections vary in form but are connected through individuality. The enormity of each piece or collection is quite exquisite with many having 10,000 or more unique objects.
Upon entering, you are immediately confronted by many large works. The early “Bleach Paintings” and “Constructed Paintings” fit well into the context of Geometric Abstraction while their unusual material structure blends industrial processes with careful planning. Rather than using typical acrylics and oils, the pigments come from caulk, varnish, dyes, and bleach. An arithmetic system is used to prevent any Constructed Painting from being the same as another.
The Drawings surrounding the room are constructed by hand using a series of templates, each is unique and through the process, the series can be expanded into billions of units. The Individual Works is comprised of a collection of everyday objects cast in plaster and then combined to create a collection of unique compositions. The massive table display invokes feelings of industrial mass production although each is a one-off.
The more recent works of the second floor investigate museum collections of dinosaur bones and footprints, phenomenal sand spikes, and fulgurite – the petrified remnant of a lightning strike. Each is cast into new material and changed for originality. Harnessing a lightning strike artificially and constructing 10,000 casts from it confronts the old saying used to describe uniqueness that “lightning never strikes the same place twice”.
McCollum’s collections push our understanding of the unique and the multiple, no piece is the same but all inherently look similar. The enchantment of collecting is about finding the unicorns: the Paul Newman Rolex Daytona, the Ferrari 275 GTB, or the rarest Beanie Baby. How many were made and how many are left? The decision is subjective, for each of us to decide. What is worth holding on to and what is worth letting go? After all, they are just objects.