- I Wish Daniel Was My BF
Chances are, everyone’s had at least one obsession that’s led them down the rabbit hole into a world of neurotic exploration, where hours-long contemplations and fantasy bounce between a joy and an exhaustion that blankets every thought and word in the course of daily life.
When you walk into the installation at 5th Wall Gallery, keep in mind that this is that.
For his installation, I Wish Daniel Was My BF, artist Daniel Oshima has extracted nearly everything from his bedroom and brought it into the small gallery space, arranging it accordingly: the unmade bed, the lamps, the television, the stereo, notebooks, sketch pads. A found section of wall-to-wall carpet (stained from wear and tear) further sinks in that this is someone’s space, where hours have been spent sketching the face of a young man, a stranger really, from a photo taken off an Internet profile. It’s the portal into a two-year obsession with a guy named Daniel, who Oshima turned into an art project—research based on ideas of synchronicity and serendipity with few boundaries.
Whether Oshima really wished the real Daniel was his boyfriend becomes almost irrelevant when you realize that the artist’s contact with the dark-haired, arched-eyebrowed man has been limited to maybe a sentence or two, a couple of random chance encounters and several sightings of someone who may or may not be Daniel. This is Oshima’s Daniel, the perfect boyfriend he’s imagined and sketched in a series of portraits hanging on the gallery/bedroom walls. You are the voyeur into the infatuation, peering in on an emotional experience presented in a three-dimensional work that allows the artist a certain distance to examine himself from the outside while plunging in, grasping at anything—music, numerology, myths—that seems to validate the fantasy. Or, as he quotes 80kidz, “Sometimes reality is the strangest fantasy of all.”