A Flourish of Miniatures Thrive in Max Hooper Schneider’s Uncanny Post-Human Dioramas

A Flourish of Miniatures Thrive in Max Hooper Schneiders Uncanny | RetinaComics

“Cereal Cave” (2023), modeled plywood box, UV-blown glass mushrooms, epoxy resin, assorted matter, toy dogs, cereals, UV LED light, powder-coated aluminum table. 23 1/4 x 19 3/4 x 15 inches. Photo by Paul Salveson, courtesy of the artist, François Ghebaly Gallery, and Maureen Paley. All images shared with permission

Overgrown with Fruity Cheerios or plastic plants fit for a fish tank, the miniature dioramas that emerge from Max Hooper Schneider’s Los Angeles studio marry ecology and technology into an unsettling, post-human future. The artist (previously) constructs vast environments within small vitrines that position dolls, Tiffany lamps, and liquor bottles as relics of the past and fixtures of a new world.

Schneider’s practice revolves around the idea of the trans-habitat, what he describes as “a relentless onslaught in which bodies…are continuously created, transformed, destroyed, and recreated.” His works imply this cyclical process as otherworldly organisms consume what were once everyday objects, and humans appear displaced from their role as primary actors.

Many sculptures veer toward the grotesque like “Pond Scum Phalanx,” which features a mass of vibrant fishing lures entwined with grimy clumps of slime. Other pieces like “Cereal Cave” and “UNDERTOW MOON” nod to the potential cause of destruction, as neon light cloaks the ecosystems making them appear almost radioactive.

Schneider has a solo show opening in July at UCCA Beijing. Until then, explore an archive of his sculptures large and small on Instagram.

 

a green plastic diorama covered in numerous miniature bottles and a lush garden of plastic plants

“CONTROL APPARITION” (2022), vintage neon tubes, custom fluorescent vitrine, miniature bottles, miscellaneous trinkets, plastic flora, foam, resin, 15 x 24 x 16 inches. Photo by Paul Salveson, courtesy of the artist and François Ghebaly Gallery

a vibrant neon lit diorama with unearthly plants and organisms

“UNDERTOW MOON” (2023), custom acrylic tinted vitrine, vintage blacklight neon tube, UV glass mushrooms, modeled habitat, coral, gems, minerals, marbles, tidal flotsam and found objects, pigmented resin, custom blacklight and aluminum armature, and custom pedestal, 16.25 x 15.75 x 9.75 inches. Photo by Joshua White, courtesy of the artist and François Ghebaly Gallery

a detail of neon lit environment with otherworldly plants and creatures

Detail of “UNDERTOW MOON” (2023), custom acrylic tinted vitrine, vintage blacklight neon tube, UV glass mushrooms, modeled habitat, coral, gems, minerals, marbles, tidal flotsam and found objects, pigmented resin, custom blacklight and aluminum armature, and custom pedestal, 16.25 x 15.75 x 9.75 inches. Photo by Joshua White, courtesy of the artist and François Ghebaly Gallery

a closeup up a lush overgrowth with small tiffany lamps and other objects tucked in the midst

Detail of “Exurbia” (2023), mixed media, custom paludarium, miniature Tiffany lamps, 20 x 18 x 15 inches. Photo by Paul Salveson, courtesy of the artist, François Ghebaly Gallery, and Maureen Paley

a diorama with lush growths and small tiffany lamps illuminating the area

“Exurbia” (2023), mixed media, custom paludarium, miniature Tiffany lamps, 20 x 18 x 15 inches. Photo by Paul Salveson, courtesy of the artist, François Ghebaly Gallery, and Maureen Paley

a delicate pink sculpture that looks like a tree with a large fanned canopy and small fruits hanging from its branches

“Dendrite Bonsai (Reef)” (2023), copper electroplated fruits, fan coral, and wooden shrub assemblage, 30 1/4 x 15 3/4 x 24 inches. Photo by Paul Salveson, courtesy of the artist, François Ghebaly Gallery, and Maureen Paley

a sculpture with fish lures and brown scummy components wrapped in a tangled towering mass

“Pond Scum Phalanx” (2023), porcelain figurines, fishing lures, miscellaneous tackle, dirt, gummy candies, pigmented urethane resin, clear mineral oil, glass pond, approximately 41 x 32 x 32 inches. Photo by Keith Lubow, courtesy of the artist, François Ghebaly Gallery, and Hauser & Wirth, Los Angeles

fishing lures dangly from a larger construction

Detail of “Pond Scum Phalanx” (2023), porcelain figurines, fishing lures, miscellaneous tackle, dirt, gummy candies, pigmented urethane resin, clear mineral oil, glass pond, approximately 41 x 32 x 32 inches. Photo by Keith Lubow, courtesy of the artist, François Ghebaly Gallery, and Hauser & Wirth, Los Angeles

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