Image: Michael Dominick, Memory Fountain, mixed media /  ©Michael Dominick    ©Black & White Gallery/Project Space

Image: Michael Dominick, Memory Fountain, mixed media / ©Michael Dominick  ©Black & White Gallery/Project Space


Street in Manhattan, but the event that opened his installation at Black & White Michael Dominick has staged "molten-iron performances" at several venues in New York, including a particularly risky 2003 event on West 20th Street in Chelsea, but the event that opened his installation at Black & White Gallery incorporated a level of theatricality above and beyond his previous performances. Toiling in the December chill, the artist laboriously transferred molten iron from furnace to mold, as dramatic blue lighting allowed the liminal material to glow an explosive orange as pops of gunpowder punctuated each exaggerated gesture. An over-the-top performance of physical labor as theater, the atmosphere had more in common with a rock show than a foundry. "I wanted you to never forget that reception," said Dominick, adding, "there's something about exchanging my sweat and blood with the furnace that imbues an object or an installation with a certain aura." His installation, Memory Fountain, added aura to the space even without so monumental an inauguration. A three-foot iron basin stood at the center of the outdoor space with the flame of a propane torch heating it from below. Above the bowl hung a chandelier-like fixture that released a steady stream of water into the iron receptacle. Upon contact, the water would evaporate into the air. The walls surrounding it also contained elements that alluded to memory and lost time, such as an institutional-looking clock and painted-on text reading, "Time is the nemesis of memory." Highlighted in shades of blue and orange, the installation resembled a stylized industrial workshop. The steam from the fountain evaporating into the cold winter air completed the surreal, but also meditative scene. "I had always wanted to do a piece that incorporated heat outdoors in the winter," said Dominick. "On a cold day, it was unbelievable."