Magazine article Artforum International

"Myths of the Marble": Henie Onstad Kunstsenter

Magazine article Artforum International

"Myths of the Marble": Henie Onstad Kunstsenter

Article excerpt

With fourteen works by eleven artists, the mazelike group show "Myths of the Marble" is an insistent plunge into the depths of the virtual in contemporary art. Curated by Milena Hogsberg of the Henie Onstad Kunstsenter and Alex Klein of the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, where the exhibition is on view through August 6, it includes seven large works commissioned for the occasion. Apart from the fetishized material of Western art history, the title alludes to the nickname given to our planet inspired by the iconic 1972 NASA photograph of the earth as seen from space: the Blue Marble. It seems to hint at a close connection between distance and desire--the virtual always at the far end of possibility--that will never be completely resolved in our constantly shifting perspective on the world. From the viral to black mirrors, metaphors of our current post-reality are often exhausted by dystopian reservations or just pure media panic. No one here seems to think the hand brake is still within reach. Wherever we're heading, the future seems to exert an irresistible, though possibly fatal, attraction.

From this contemporary viewpoint--teetering between antiquity and the space age--the materiality and tactility of our new prosthetic organs demand careful attention: Are our bodies being sidelined in spaces of new technology? Daria Martin's 16-mm film Soft Materials, 2004, which depicts robots and performers interacting in the Artificial Intelligence Lab at the University of Zurich, could almost be a Merce Cunningham or Trisha Brown piece in its breakdown of the mechanics of the human body. The CGI worlds of Sondra Perry's IT'S IN THE GAME '17 or Mirror Gag for Vitrine and Projection, 2017, and Jacolby Satterwhite's En Plein Air: Music of Objective Romance, 2016-, acutely demonstrate the emancipation of imagination from physics at opposite ends of the scale: reproduction of real-life power structures versus a baroque actualization of desire. Like the disorienting geography of Florian Meisenberg's virtual-reality painting installation Of Defective Gods & Lucid Dreams (The Museum Is Closed for Renovation), 2017, the push and pull between unsanctioned freedom and the opacity of algorithmic rules resonate through the exhibition. …

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