Inka Essenhigh’s Surrealist Illustrations of Manhattanhenge Enliven NYC’s Drawing Center

Inka Essenhigh began Manhattanhenge with a pencil sketch. Photography courtesy of Inka Essenhigh.

Imagine if Manhattan buildings had human emotion and mobility. If they did, the classic cast-iron ones would likely be quite annoyed by the shiny, new glass-and-steel condominiums popping up all over town. Maybe they’d even get into a fight. Such is the narrative Inka Essenhigh has conceived and illustrated in her site-specific installation at the Drawing Center in New York. Emblazoned on walls in the gallery’s two-story stairwell through next year, Manhattanhenge exhibits the distorted, hallucinatory, surrealist-inspired images for which Essenhigh is known. The golden backdrop—and the work’s title—nods to the summer solstice phenomenon when the sun aligns with the city’s grid of east-west streets.

The resulting installation in latex and metallic latex at New York’s Drawing Center. Photography by Martin Parsekian/Courtesy of The Drawing Center.
The resulting installation in latex and metallic latex at New York’s Drawing Center. Photography by Martin Parsekian/Courtesy of The Drawing Center.

> See more from the March 2018 issue of Interior Design

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