When man (or woman) discovered fire, they never could have predicted the power of the candle. It’s quite remarkable that the same object is used to set the mood (you know, for sex), pray for loved ones, make birthday wishes and celebrate Chunukah. At the private high school I attended we had a “candle lighting ceremony” in which we all wore white, danced around a maypole, recited phrases in Latin and, of course, lit candles (no, I was not part of a cult… I don’t think).
Anyway, for lovers of candles and of lighting things on fire, twelve artists will be lighting their very own candles ablaze this Saturday at The Ace Hotel in New York. There will also be wine and music and all that good stuff.
The ceremony is the culmination of “Burn Your Idols,” a display of artist-made candles in the hotel’s lobby. Objects include a fortune cookie by Maia Ruth Lee, a “capitalism” racecar candle by Frankie Carino and a hand by Maria Candanoza, who curated the display via her lovely art object shop, OBJECT_IFY 139.
“Fire was our first source of light,” Candanoza says. “There’s something very primal about it… that first spark – that romance – so innately related to humanity.”
For “Burn Your Idols,” the curator turned to the roster of young artists whose pictures, posters, buttons, bags, zines and sculptures line the walls of her LES shop. “I asked them to pick something that was an icon to them; something they looked up to but at the same time held them back,” she says. “I always found this to be a rich subject matter… icons, whether it’s people, symbols, ideas or religion, can be helpful and inspiring but also binding. It’s good to keep things in check. That’s why the series is meant to celebrate and destroy these very things.”
For those who can’t attend the ceremony this Saturday, all the candles are available via OBJECT_IFY’s website. And though they’re beautiful objects, Candanoza maintains that they’re meant to be burned. “When I light them with my friends at my place or studio, everyone just sits and watches them burn,” she says. “People should light them! Have a candle burning ceremony of your own and watch them melt.”
“Burn Your Idols” is this Saturday at the Ace Hotel in New York at 7pm.