Last night I attended Charm Ape, a “one night only” exhibition hosted by artist David Wolk. A sizable crowd packed into an abandoned loft – filled only with Wolk’s paintings, sculptures and trapped summer air.
Outside, the busy corner of Cherokee and Iowa was filled with spectators in search of the Giver of Charms. Rain clouds moved in overhead, fans carried cooling air into the rundown buildings, and the sounds of Charm Ape echoed blocks away. The Giver led visitors to a fence and requested they select a charm that spoke to their soul. This was our initiation. Here we received direction to the loft and vague reference to the transformation about to occur.
“This hero’s journey is your own.” – from Charm Ape
The loft displayed an eclectic assortment of art and sound. Box fans in the windows and on the floors created movement – of air, and of draping curtains and plastic. This aura was one of New York – or so I imagined. Having never been to New York, I applauded Wolk’s ability to create an ambiance found generally in movies. I was transported – for the time, it felt like I was living a Hollywood scene, mingling with indie artists at a personal event.
Slowly introduced by ethereal sounds (bells, impressive vocals), the Charm Ape emerged and began his transformation. This performance element added new meaning to the placed sculptures and hanged paintings. Each grouping of art became a part of life, a part of the journey – purpose was in both the chaos and the order.
We witnessed the symbolic life of an artist – from childhood innocence and creative exploration to the loss of identity and the manifestations of inner demons (ex. suicidal tendency). Ultimately, the Charm Ape was broken, bathed and reawakened – free. Celebration was the result of this mythical journey and emotional, powerful expression of art.
“My future with you is not my past with you.” – Charm Ape