Arsham has worked with notable names such as designer Hedi Slimane of fashion houses Dior Homme and Saint Laurent Paris, and he cofounded the creative architecture practice Snarkitecture, which is creating two large public art pieces for Miami's new Florida Marlins Park.
"Arsham is known for subverting existing architectural structures in unconventional, playful ways: facades appear to billow in the wind, figures seem wrapped beneath the wall's surface," according to the Fabric Workshop website. "His cross-disciplinary practice, historical inquiry, and satirical wit combine into an ongoing interrogation of the real and the imagined."
Arsham described "Reach Ruin" as "the largest exhibition I have done in terms of scale, and I have been able to achieve things with this show that I haven't been able to do in the past."
It covers multiple floors, transforming the facility into a habitat dedicated to destruction and illusion, two themes that are consistent throughout Arsham's work.
On the ground floor, visitors meet "Hollow Figure," a sculpture that captures a white sheet of fabric violently blown across the outline of a figure. Yet when visitors walk around the back, there is no figure to be found.
"Storm" is a hole built into the museum's wall with broken glass that looks like crystals growing out of it. The multisensory piece replicates the experience of a storm and invites people to follow the seven-minute progression of light, sound, and wind as it builds up into a hurricane.
"I have taken this material that is broken, and reformed it back into objects with purpose," Arsham said. "Reach Ruin," which the artist pointed out is an anagram of the word hurricane, "is based around this notion of architecture in a state of movement, architecture that is doing things it's not supposed to do."
The Fabric Workshop and Museum, 1214 Arch St., opening reception 6-9 p.m. Friday, performances 6 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, 215-561-8888, fabricworkshopandmuseum.org.
Art Attack is a partnership with Drexel University and is supported by a grant from the Knight/NEA Community Arts Journalism Challenge, administered by the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance.