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New York

Swiss Institute

Exhibition Detail
Under Destruction - Part III
18 Wooster Street
New York, NY 10013


June 29th, 2011 - August 7th, 2011
Opening: 
June 28th, 2011 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
 
Untitled (Bubble Machine), Ariel SchlesingerAriel Schlesinger, Untitled (Bubble Machine),
2006
© Courtesy of the artist & Swiss Insitute
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The third and final part can be read as the dénouement of the exhibition. Paired down to a comparatively restrained, but no less powerful selection of works, it foregrounds the theme of the memento mori present in all three parts.

Ariel Schlesinger’s Untitled (Bubble Machine) (2006) gradually signals its own destruction through its repetitive and inflammatory nature. Consisting of a hand-drill mechanism placed on top of a wooden ladder, the machine periodically drops bubbles of soap onto an electrified field of coils, which in turn makes the bubble burst into a fleeting sphere of flames.

Fire likewise plays a deleterious role in Roman Signer's Ramp (2008). Having constructed an elaborate wooden ramp, Signer condemns a small truck to its death by sending it down the precipitous ramp (the trigger mechanism of the whole affair being a candle which burns through the rope which in turn releases the truck to it doomed fate).

Of an entirely different, much more measured register is Jonathan Schipper's To Dust (2009), in which two generic cement busts, which are hung upside down from a mechanism, gradually grind against each other, mutually transforming one another into dust.

Alexander Gutke's The White Light of the Void (2002) concisely invests the materiality of celluloid with a purchase on the hereafter. This 16mm film installation simulates the meltdown of blank film stock, as if the film jammed in the projector, whereupon the bulb promptly burns through the celluloid. This small conflagration in turn produces an amoeba-like form that expands outward from the centre of the frame, swallowing it up and returning the film to its opening white frame, intact, and the loop resumes. If this work can be seen as a metaphor for the entire exhibition in which destruction itself is often no more than a force of cyclical renewal.

Kris Martin's 100 years (2004) ultimately embodies the deferral intrinsic to that cycle. Indeed, this work, which quite simply consists of a bomb set to go off in 2104, dislocates the moment of destruction into a distant temporal elsewhere, thereby depriving an exhibition that would seem to be comprised of nothing but ends, of an end itself.


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