Magazine article Artforum International

Marlie Mul

Magazine article Artforum International

Marlie Mul

Article excerpt

Marlie Mul's exhibition "Your Wet Sleeve in My Neck" had something green and full of potential about it. In the gallery's street-level space was a low-lying sculpture diagonally laid out in serpentine form. This piece had the smack of an extravagantly long wind instrument or hookah pipe, but in fact it had no passage for air. It consisted of lightly polished, solid-wood spindles set on the floor, joined end to end with straight or bent segments of clear PVC tubing. Each rod had a lathe-turned design for what would appear to be anachronistic stair balusters--twisted spirals, orbs, tapered ends and all--and was marbled like the endpapers of an antiquarian book--that is, they were dipped in a bath laced with marbling inks. A jealously guarded trade secret in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, marbling is today a quaint but widespread hobby. The finish is applied to everything from fingernails to fishing rods. Mul's piece is called Me (connected) (all works 2010), but it conjures up less an artist's self-portrait than the tricky, watery process of capturing a floating design on a lathe-turned surface. This outlandish combination of forms and techniques had a presence chat fairly jumped right off the floor it lay upon.

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The arrangement of these baluster-like rods within the exhibition space, moreover, seemed to point viewers to the cramped stairway leading to the second floor. There, three marbled spindles, collectively titled Sticks (Blue, Yellow, Terracotta), were placed squarely on the floor. Two were positioned parallel to each other, and the third lay diagonally further away and perpendicular to them. …

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