Scott Hocking "Old" Opens at David Klein Gallery

David Klein Gallery
May 16, 2018 4:06PM

For his first solo show with the gallery, Hocking has focused on his own history and ancestry as well as the histories of Detroit and Michigan. The centerpiece of the exhibition will be a site-specific installation constructed around the grand column in the gallery’s main exhibition space. OLD also features new photographs of Hocking’s recent site-specific projects in Australia, France, and Michigan.

A sixth-generation Detroiter, Hocking is descended from generations of Baltic Polish immigrants and Cornish copper miners who settled in the Upper Peninsula’s Copper Harbor. Hocking states: “The idea of copper mining being a huge part of my family history connected to an overall theme for me.  Copper mining in the Upper Peninsula has been going on for thousands of years.  The earliest natives living in this region around the Great Lakes were classified as the Old Copper Complex and copper artifacts from this culture can be dated up to 6000 or more years ago…In my time making art in Detroit, copper has always been the most coveted scrap metal, scavenged from any place possible.  Scrapping has slowed in Detroit in the last 10 years, but the importance of copper in Detroit is a system that’s thousands of years old, moreover, it’ s a continual form of currency, trade, and a coveted material.”

Hocking considers the exhibition to be a culmination of two decades of producing his work in Detroit. The various stages of his practice as an artist are represented by iconic artifacts and sculptures as well as photographic images of several of his significant projects including the Tower of Babel and the Celestial Ship of the North(Emergency Ark) aka The Barnboat.  He notes that all of the projects in the show tie into the concept of all that is OLD.  

From the mythological symbolism of an ancient vessel, an Ark, the ‘Celestial Ship,’ an old barn literally rebuilt upside down - only to sit and slowly weather away as had been doing since the 1890s - old.  The Tower of Babel, steeped in ancient myth and symbolism, built out of old stones, in an old train station, in the old Flemish city of Lille - again, layered and layered with history.  And the Triumph of Death, based on the Flemish painter Pieter Bruegel's painting depicting an army of skeletons taking humans to their deaths in all manner of ways, including the old crucifixion method called a Breaking Wheel.”

With OLD, Hocking addresses the looming presence of a large column in the middle of the gallery with a site- specific installation inspired by a visit he made to the Paris Catacombs in 2015. Throughout history mankind has built cities on top of the cities and graves of the people who came before them.  Hocking states that in Detroit, ancient Native-American burial mound sites are in the more industrialized and worked over parts of the city.“…There's a connection to the ancient past, tied in with my familial past, tied in with my personal history.”

Hocking is recognized internationally for his interventions into urban and rural landscapes that reference mythology, mysticism and folklore. He has produced and documented numerous site-specific installations in Australia, France, Germany, and Mexico, as well as in multiple locations in the U.S. including Georgia, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Texas and Michigan. His work has been included in numerous exhibitions both nationally and internationally including the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts Museum, The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Smart Museum of Art and the Kunst-Werk Institute of Contemporary Art in Berlin, among others.

David Klein Gallery