November 16, 2012
Artist Reception: Saturday, December 8, 7-10pm
Store Hours: December 6-9, 10 am- 10pm
PRIMARY PROJECTS Pop-Up Space
167 NW 25th Street
Wynwood Arts District, FL 33127
With a desire to offer an affordable boutique space to various artists and designers, David Lombardi designated a portion of his Wynwood office to build a pop up space. Currently occupied by local fashionista, Pamela Wasabi, Primary Projects will take over the space for Art Basel on December 8th with a pop up gun shop. Wasabi’s underground couture shop, The Kult, will return on the 11th.
Asif’s Guns will feature more than 300 firearms handcrafted from found cardboard boxes, an x-acto knife and glue. Asif Farooq’s work will be displayed in the style of an authentic gun store.
Having previously battled drug addiction, the artist, now clean, had been in and out of state institutions, where he used his free time to create art. We sat down with co-founder of Primary Projects, Chris Oh, to discuss Asif’s artistic development and the intentions behind the powerful exhibition.
While in prison, you don’t have many materials available to you. One of the materials Asif did find was paper and cardboard. When he was younger, he used to make these cardboard guns with his brother who passed away and he revisited that sentiment while locked up. Once he had gotten out, he had taken this concept a little bit further and just kept building upon it to the point where he is now, where these guns are basically lifelike facsimiles of a real gun, but they’re made completely of cardboard with all functioning cardboard parts. He knows everything about every gun. He’s not really obsessed with guns but he’s more obsessed with airplanes and engineering. The engineering of guns is an aspect that people don’t look at. They look at it as these death machines or as a tool of power but he doesn’t really approach it like that. He’s more fascinated with the engineering of the guns itself and his knowledge and enthusiasm just led us to believe in him and in the art he makes.
When you hold the one of Asif’s guns, you actually feel like when you’re not looking at it, like it’s a real gun. You have this false sense of empowerment just as you would a real gun in your hand. It’s still this object that gives you this false sense that you could take someone’s life or gives you extra bravado. It was this dynamic we thought was incredibly interesting and that was the deeper meaning behind this project other than this guy is cool, he builds guns out of cardboard.
Asif came by last Basel to show us some guns and we fell in love with his personality, his enthusiasm and his artwork. He didn’t stand still with what he was doing, always enhancing and bettering his process. By the time we actually sat down to start working with him, it was a group show that we did this past fall. It took us about two years to figure out who we wanted to represent, trying to figure out who we work best with, who we wanted to work with in the future. We’re very team oriented, we’re family oriented as well, so we wanted this tight knit group to be the same.
Asif was just one of these awesome team players. By the time we had this group show, showing off these artists and who we wanted to represent, Asif had reached a point in his craft where he was making them so intricate, he built this soviet DShK machine gun he had never seen before in his life. It has complete working parts. It’s a machine gun that’s usually mounted to helicopters and tanks and warships. What he did was just look at pictures and found the specs of the guns and built it to spec. Having never seen the gun in person, we just thought that this was an incredible feat and that piece actually became the centerpiece for that show.
We’re not trying to idolize gun violence whatsoever. It’s quite the contrary. We’re trying to show guns in a light that takes away the power or the negativity from the guns. A lot of the proceeds, after recouping project costs, are going to a charity for victims of gun violence. That is something the artist specifically wanted. We were completely on board and thought that was a great idea. Because this project may be sensitive to certain people and may be misconstrued, we didn’t want anybody to have any misconceptions about our intentions. This project is not to promote gun violence or idolize guns whatsoever. One of Asif’s best friends passed away a while ago and there was a judge that was really kind to Asif, who helped him get out of his troubles and his addictions. He wants to donate a portion of the proceeds to set up a charity in the name of his friend who had passed away. He’s going to do this through the judge that helped him get through his addictions. There’s a lot of deeper meaning behind Asif doing this project, as opposed to just wanting to get put on and get out there. There are some things in his past that he wants to make right and wants to do in the name of people who have passed away as victims of gun violence.
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