Visual Ends: The Edge of Perception
FLAT Space, Chicago
February 29 – March 30, 2014
What remains of the most outstanding piece from the inaugural exhibition at FLAT Space is splattered orange paint amongst scattered dirt, mixed by the feet of George William Price. Once a neat pile, the dust is the subject of Aktions Übertragung: Dust from Perinetkeller, Wien to Ruble Street, Chicago, a performance enacted at the show’s opening. One kilogram of what is simply described as ‘dust’ was shipped to Chicago from the former studio of recently deceased Otto Mühl, founder of the Viennese Actionism school.
Currently living and working in Mühl’s studio in Vienna, Nicole Prutsch, along with Price, performed a variation of scores by the artist via video feed, projected live during the opening. Prutsch in her studio, and Price in Chicago, poured buckets of paint on their nude bodies, and after three segments of actions from various scores, the piece concluded with Price offering his body as the palette for Mühl’s dust.
Tobias Zehntner, contributed works composed of light, ones that produce a warm sheen throughout the space. Skyline, 24-hour photo data of the Chicago skyline condensed and looped to 24-minutes, programmed into an LED shaft extending from the floor and almost touching the ceiling, subtly beams blue and purple hues. With this work, one witnesses a sunrise, sunset, and city lights, which do not linger but quickly float by. The placement of the piece works so well in the gallery that it almost becomes part of it.
Zehntner’s Untitled (Two Bulbs) is only slightly less serene. Like Skyline, this work comprised of just two light bulbs, a cable, and timer is equally clever in its utilization of the space. With half of it occupying a small nook located near the front, it’s surprising to see the other part upstairs suspended above a secluded area, the two connected by a single cable calculated to flicker and fade at alternate times.
Shifting away from the incandescent, two other works explore modes of ephemerality in different capacities. Austen Brown’s untitled piece, sprawled along the gallery’s main level, is a feat of meticulous engineering. Brown arranged over a dozen small glass containers hooked up to what he describes as a self-generating synthetic click, which allows the noise produced by the computer program they are synced with to literally expand and contrast sound.
Lauren Pirritano’s This Feeling Will Last Forever is the most underemphasized piece in the show, not due to the textual medium itself but to its placement and presentation. Commissioned for the exhibition and printed in an edition of 50, the work explains the process of memory, and it does so repeatedly, literalizing the exhibition’s theme to a needless degree, musing on strengths and weaknesses with which it may aid or fail us.
Curated and arranged effectively within the small space, Visual Ends presents some really intelligent work. Concepts of ephemerality are conveyed through sound, light, text, space, and body creating a successful first exhibition overall.