Christopher K. Ho
Marvin ♥ Henry
Out of the hardships of the Great Depression came Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal: For the first time in the United States, we had a social safety net. It’s still to be seen whether and what kind of society might emerge from the ruin of COVID-19, but Christopher K. Ho seems to be teasing us with a glimpse of it. Out of 56 Henry’s front room gallery, he has crafted a jagged, mirrored forest, set into a large green cutting mat. The “Marvin” in the exhibition’s title—“Marvin <3 Henry”—refers both to one of the main characters from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which takes place in a universe similarly rocked by a devastating economic crisis, and an Alvin-branded cutting mat, reimagined here as “Marvinco,” which went out of business as a result of COVID-19.
Ho’s forest is replete with a range of sharp shapes, including tiny, triangle slivers, three-dimensional Christmas trees made of intersecting fragments, and bunny-eared shapes, which begin at a couple inches and expand over repeated iterations to range up to eight feet tall. The mirrors are set at un-orthogonal angles upon the cutting mat—usually a symbol of order down to a quarter-inch—which curls up against the wall. Looking into the installation disorients: It throws back pieces of yourself in jarring Cubist fragments—a foot here, the crook of an elbow there, a strange angle of your face—and reverberates against itself in endless fragmented loops.
Christopher K. Ho, Marvin ♥ Henry, 2021. Aluminum composite (ACM), print on vinyl, wood, 73 × 166 × 96 inches. Installation view [detail] 56 Henry, 2021.