Peter Bauhuis’s material experiments often “play” visual tricks; for example, in his show Armillaria, at Gallery Funaki, he displays a little “bronze” cup in the cabinet of curiosities he has fashioned from the pristine walls of the Crossley Lane space.
The cup, which is part of “the Kolomna Report,” the official announcement he made of the “evidence of prehistoric cultures” found between Moscow and Oka during “a neo-scientific exploration by the Institute of Newer Archaeology,” is one of more than 80 works, ranging from vessels, culinary implements, and jewelry, meticulously painted by the artist to look like objects from the Bronze Age, but suspiciously featuring such unexpected details as horizontal ridges (takeaway coffee cups?), pretzel shapes (in the form of bracelets), and, most revealing of all, the unusual Bronze Age bottle opener!
It’s disconcerting how readily we are willing to be persuaded by appearances; I didn’t dare pick up the object and ascertain for myself its authenticity, which would have been dispelled upon the touch. The artist’s play is a deadly serious commentary on the precious and the faux, the values society places on the old and the unique, and our mores about appropriate behavior in the gallery space.