Kitty Kraus: Galerie Neu

By Allen, Jennifer | Artforum International, November 2006 | Go to article overview

Kitty Kraus: Galerie Neu


Allen, Jennifer, Artforum International


Kitty Kraus's show should have come with a warning sign, although it is still not clear what posed the greater danger, the work to the visitor or the visitor to the work. Signs of Minimalism, mixed with Constructivism, were there--severe geometrical constructions (made with glass) and black squarish forms (made with tar, ink, and cloth)--yet these elements were at once threatening and fragile, like magnified versions of the delicate instruments used for open-heart surgery.

The most conspicuous works--all Untitled, 2006--consisted of pairs of transparent glass panes that had been cut in angular shapes, joined at one section of their perimeter, and then placed at sometimes extreme angles to the wall and the floor. In these unlikely positions, the panes stuck to each other in mutual support while creating transparent barriers, which were difficult to see and thus easy to knock accidentally. One set took the form of a mini table and slide, jutting out of the wall and then bending to touch the floor; the two panes of glass met at an improbable 135-degree angle. Instead of deploying copper foil or superglue to fix the edges firmly, the artist opted for an extremely thin strip of double-edged tape (normally used for hanging paper posters on wall). While the structures could easily have broken or been broken, their open edges--left unpolished--remained sharp enough to cut human skin. The potential for mutual injury in this show makes it surprising that both the works and the visitors survived the opening intact.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Two other works did not endure: They were condemned to a slow deterioration. Kraus took a fluorescent tube and a lightbulb, froze each inside a large ice cube made with black ink and water, and then plugged in the lights to create glowing dark blocks. …

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