Property Holding Development Group, Hong Kong
November 12, 2022 - January 21, 2023

The shapes and forms in Dylan DeRose’s sculptures are at once familiar and conspiratorial. Where might one have seen them before? In what environments do they typically exist? What are their names and histories? Are they route signs, formal abstractions, or a set of codes—operations. Clues to the origins of this shape might lie in the sculptures’ production cycle, which begins with the artist raising worms in his studio, crafting ideal conditions for them to grow and thrive. The vermin are then guided through blocks of polystyrene–which they eat to move through–before their abrupt eviction, leaving behind only tunnelled absences.

Other indicators of meaning might be found in the works’ material formulations, in which a veneer is built up by tissue-thin layers of grayscale paint, or in the worm craters set within an austere grid. Enigmatic titles such as “Reuniongate-annex,” or “Pythonegg-annex,” hint at a playfully deconstructive nature. Yet the sculptures maintain a neutrality. Shipped from the semi-sealed environment of DeRose’s Los Angeles studio and vaulted straight into PHD Group, they have not yet functioned as objects in the alleged “real world”—they exist almost purely as signifiers. The assumptive lines between reality and fantasy are challenged here; DeRose reminds us that our environment is as constructed as the existential terraformations of Disney World or the connotations we have loaded into our societies and systems.

These sculptures present several tensions: between nature and artificiality; between the rhizome and the grid; and between liberation from and attachment to symbolisms. A “rose is a rose is a rose is a rose,” as Gertrude Stein reminds us, unless one embraces the struggle against predetermined languages of our worlds. Within these strains of conflict, a potential new space emerges.

View on the Gallery Website