56 HENRY is excited to announce Rappel à l’ordre, an exhibition by Christopher K. Ho, available for viewing from February 15 to March 31, 2024 at 105 Henry Street. This marks Ho’s second solo show with the gallery.

Rappel à l’ordre, translating to “call to order,” explores a return to discipline after perceived chaos or rebellion. The exhibition consists of 30 brass sculptures, arranged according to the Hetu or River Chart, a Song dynasty magic square with black-and-white markers totaling 15 in all directions. The sculptures, incorporating subtle aluminum accents, draw inspiration from a nine-square grid—an architectural exercise, by the late John Hejduk from the 1950s, teaching fundamentals of architectural design. The gridded, modular scaffold prioritizes holistic composition and internal spatial
relationships over function and phenomenology.

Ho's intentionally untitled sculptures, abstract in nature, exhibit features that can be interpreted as figurative or perhaps symbolic. Viewers are invited to attribute content to these speculative forms, such as the notched fins of sculpture 13, which perhaps resemble elephant's ears, and the curved channel in the solid base, which could suggest a trunk. Similarly, the triangular silhouettes atop sculpture 22 might be seen as nautical flags, with the base resembling a tricorn hat.

Overtly political art prevalent in the last decade is often tied to social justice and identity politics. Yet, as Felix Gonzalez Torres once noted, “We don’t need a gallery space to find out something we read in the news.” Ho’s formalist approach, the exhibition’s rigid layout, and the choice of traditional brass forcefully disrupt the status quo—it is indeed a true “call to order.” Rappel à l’ordre urges explorations beyond visual representations of political subjects and asks: Might formalism and its cognates—autonomous, self-referential objects—still possess political or even revolutionary potential?

Christopher K. Ho (b. 1974, Hong Kong) graduated from Cornell University with BFA and a BS in 1997, and from Columbia University with an MPhil in 2003. Solo shows include CX 889, Vancouver Art Gallery (2022); Marvin ❤️ Henry, 56 Henry (2021); Dear John, Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York (2019); Aloha to the World at the Don Ho Terrace, Bronx Museum, New York (2018); CX 888, de Sarthe Gallery, Hong Kong (2018); and Privileged White People, Forever & Today, New York (2013). Group exhibitions include The Salesman, 56 Henry, New York (2023); Lustrous like plastic, Bard College CCS Hessel Museum, Annandale-On-Hudson, NY (2022); Any Distance Between Us, RISD Museum, Providence, Rhode Island (2021); and Meditations in an Emergency, UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing (2020), among many others.