Transmogrification, Jan 25 – Feb 23, 2003

Past: 55 Chrystie St

Installation view, Transmogrification, Canada, New York, 2003


Michael Mahalchick,

SACRIFICE (hanging),


36 × 24 × 120 in (91.44 × 60.96 × 304.8 cm)


Michael Mahalchick,

GHOST (hanging),


3 × 3 × 10 in (7.62 × 7.62 × 25.4 cm)


Press Release

CANADA has unleashed a power of extraordinary magnitude, its name is Jocelyn Shipley and Michael Mahalchick. God help us.

These stars burn a billion times too bright. How can you look into their visionary form and not turn to stone? Connoisseurs of sound and image, they have respectively collected a magnificent vocabulary which confounds and demolishes taste and judgment. It is rare to capture two fiendish charismatics for an exhibition, but dedicated to the best in international contemporary art, CANADA has found these two: a combination of firebirds arisen from the ashes of a sculpture apocalypse and maggots on the shit pile of sculpture.

In her second show at CANADA, Shipley returns with a deadly installation which pushes the figurative experiments of her earlier work all the way to the fantastic and mystical landscape of mead hall carnage and medieval trophy room and lair. A freakish hybrid of horror and cute, Shipley lovingly forms decapitations and wounds and fierce dragons of gothic horror that wear a deeply snuggley disposition. A bloody corpse you want to hug, Puff the Magic Dragon disemboweled, watching TV and wearing Osh Kosh Begosh overalls eating vanilla ice cream.

Shipley finds a dignity in the making of trophies for the slain. Though the beasties are gross, she makes them with the compassion of someone who loves the stuffed dear and trout that line mahogany dens of robber barons. Carnage in this sculpture is not made for ferocity, but for love, cuddly destruction, and that warmth of fondness. That affection, makes the sculpture move past tawdry sensation and past bad death. Its the extraordinary possibility of affection amidst horror. A medieval demi monde with all the grace of violence but none of the pain.

Mahalchick, perhaps most known for his work in the ultra pretty band Experimental Make-up has made fabric sculpture most easily characterized as obscene and degenerate, its dirty. Fabric sores, and rashes bound into the fuckable forms of mysterious teddy bear hookers.
New pieces are macramé and twists of discarded clothes. Warm little dirty bundles, sweet scented leg humpers, infants with overdeveloped sexuality, or stuffed bunnies with peculiar genitals made from the cast off clothes from a leper colony, a degenerate Velveteen Rabbit. They open your heart. They will make you feel like Florence Nightingale.

Like Shipley, Mahalchick has found an incredible warmth in the most repellant places. Both have a powerful compassion for the disgusting. Both are trying to make horror, shame, and shit-smeared abjection with enough irrefutable sincerity that when you show it to your Gram in the nursing home she will cry with joy.