Reena Spaulings presents It’s Complicated by Klara Liden. For her fifth exhibition at the gallery, the artist has repurposed a vanload of old scaffolding planks, working on site to produce a roomful of sculptures that are also furniture. Arranged throughout the space, the repeating forms of tables and benches evoke an abandoned meeting hall or off-‐season beer garden. A series of spray-‐painted pink lines crisscrosses the installation in such a way that all of the furniture has been tagged at least once. This drawing was followed by a circular saw, slicing though the planks. Steel pipes were then added along the cuts to prop up the disabled forms like crutches. The entire installation sits on a soft gray floor normally used in dance studios.
Underneath the gallery, in what used to be Wing Shoon restaurant (and before that, Garden Cafeteria), Liden presents Warm Up: Hermitage State Theatre (made as part of her contribution to Manifesta 10, St. Petersburg, 2014), a video in which the artist inserts herself among a troupe of professional ballerinas. Having taken lessons in advance of the filming, the artist almost keeps pace with the trained dancers. Along with the video projection, a series of hanging lamps made from plastic jerry cans illuminate the evicted restaurant. These have been marked with pink lines like the furniture upstairs, but in this case the lines aren’t cut, they find a level in relation to the tilting angles of the jugs.
Whether handling a saw or attempting an arabesque or a grand pas, Liden’s work is always an improvisation starting at the level of her own bodily capacities. Her forms are also performances in relation to built environments, often mimicking existing structures in order to evade their policing function. It’s Complicated channels the rustic abstraction of downtown eateries while filling the gallery with the hard, repetitive work of building, cutting up and cobbling back together again the image of a communal space.
Upstairs on the gallery’s front desk, a video monitor presents a surveillance camera recording of an evacuated Wing Shoon below. Filmed the day before the exhibition’s opening and in advance of its spectators, the empty restaurant drifts by in a continuous 360 degree pan. Klara Liden’s recent exhibitions include Manifesta 10, St. Petersburg, 2014; Invalidenstrasse, Museion, Bolzano, 2013; 8 Ways To Overcome Time and Space, Künstlerhaus Bremen/Museum of Modern Art Belgrade; The Myth of Progress, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; Bodies of Society, New Museum, New York.
GALLERY CLOSED THANKSGIVING WEEKEND THURSDAY NOV 27 THRU SATURDAY NOV 29 OPEN SUNDAY NOV 30
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