Magazine article Artforum International

Theo Triantafyllidis: Sargent's Daughters

Magazine article Artforum International

Theo Triantafyllidis: Sargent's Daughters

Article excerpt

For his New York solo debut, Theo Triantafyllidis, an Athens-, Los Angeles-, and Berlin-educated architecture graduate turned artist, presented one small sculpture; a medium-size wall relief composed of shape-fitted shards of colorful trash; two ink-jet-on-nylon wall hangings; and, most notably, three self-generating videos, two of which were accompanied by comical props and cosmetically augmented computer hardware. The sculpture, Mountain (Ceramic) (all works 2016), a piled-up mound of extruded white clay bearing splashes of color and bright plastic appendages, crowned a plain white plinth. Calling to mind Richard Dreyfuss's Close Encounters of the Third Kind mashed-potato mound, this is clearly a work with which to conjure, and that the artist does with Mountain (Screen Piece), located just a few feet away: A sideways monitor showing a vertical-format video leans against a wall. The screen is connected by electronic umbilici to a nearby Mac mini tilted edgewise by a homemade fluorescent-green wire stand and cryptically adorned with an antenna-like, yellow and magenta stem poking upward from one of the device's USB ports. Embellishing his hardware with decorative flourishes, Triantafyllidis asks that we consider his enabling technology as a sculptural element in aesthetic dialogue with the video it delivers.

Speaking of the video, a psychedelic drama unfolds on-screen as tiny green humanoid figures scurry about the base of a white, crud- and object-encrusted mountain--a relatively crude, gaming-software rendering of the ceramic sculpture. The simulated POV shifts radically and unpredictably as plumes of black smoke swirl around the summit. Hot-pink lava spews down the mountainside, explaining perhaps why computer and monitor, along with the ceramic sculpture's pedestal, all sit in pools of Pepto-Bismol-colored liquid, suggestive of an inter-dimensional, ectoplasmic life force common to object and avatar. The Lilliputian green figures interact haphazardly with their shifting ground, moving to an erratic and unrepeatable algorithmic beat. In a similar vein, the nearby Still Life with Yumyums comprises a black, cubic gaming PC--tricked out with plastic doodads and propped upon an illuminated fake mango--feeding custom software commands to a large, floor-bound monitor leaning against the wall. On-screen, a Boschian tableau of jittery shenanigans is staged upon what appears to be a weightless, revolving tree slice. …

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