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Mall World

These sculptures combine glazed ceramic with applied materials like flock, faux fur, and airbrushed acrylic paint, walking the line of working with the natural properties of the material and pushing it to unfamiliar realms. The work speaks the language of glossy surfaces, plasticine veneers, day-glo colors, and seductive, tactile materials borrowed from places in which commodity fetishism dominates. 


Much as Marcel Duchamp or Eugene Atget studied window displays and the thin separation between consumer and product in their vitrines and photographs respectively, each of these sculptures considers the methods of display and the design strategies of commercial spaces like shopping malls and storefronts, arcades, jeweler’s displays, and department stores. In borrowing design strategies from these locations, the work pursues a sense of placelessness that is seen in global commercialism and the prevalence of the same mass media and advertisements around the world; the idea that everything could be anywhere and ultimately is. 

Mall Wall Detail.jpg

Allele, 2013. Wood, glitter, industrial paint, motion sensor MP3 player. 51 x 80 x 14 inches.

Mall Wall

Sculptural interpretation of 17th-century Dutch memento mori. An architectural facade that could belong to a storefront window or a shopping mall vendor is erected in the center of the gallery with a bricolage of true and false materials vying for attention on the front (the public-facing side); meanwhile, the back reveals the illusion with visible construction materials, a green curtain, plastic clamps, and a workshop light. Within a gold framed window, signifiers of decadence and classical culture read simultaneously as a still life and plastic tchotchkes gathered from a tourist gift shop. General allegories of death, sex, religion, and time degenerate into swirling marbled patterns of plaster and ink, situated alongside a diminutive borax salt skull that could be the purple keychain version of Damien Hirst’s For the Love of God

Mall Wall2016. Lumber, plastic laminate, house paint, plaster, hydrocal, ink, found objects, borax, marble, tempered glass, metal trim, spotlight, marble, velvet, and Corkcomfort floating floor. 99 x 72 x 108 inches.

Prom, 2017. Veneered plywood, airbrushed paint, faux flowers, satin fabric. 72 x 29.5 x 4 inches.


"Signals of value in tension with shoddy, chintzy components permeate the show, and Kleiman offers up the most vulgar objects and substances for contemplation: gaudy fake flowers arranged with ribbons and seemingly destined for a trash bin (Prom, 2017); ... A line of criticism examining fantasies of wealth and status could easily become a project about aesthetic displays as class markers, and the way that they collude with larger power dynamics and social positioning. These hierarchies have high stakes, and Kleiman at times seems to be engaging with Bourdieuian explorations of social strata."

– Monica Westin, "With the Logic of Vegas, the Seduction of Art: Hadar Kleiman’s Cheap Desirability in San Francisco," Momus