Edith Dekyndt: Parker's Box

By Wilson, Michael | Artforum International, January 2009 | Go to article overview

Edith Dekyndt: Parker's Box


Wilson, Michael, Artforum International


Like a gothic remake of the mysterious globular security drones that were the bane of Patrick McGoohan's existence in the 1960s TV classic The Prisoner, Edith Dekyndt's Ground Control (all works 2008)hovers a little too close and a little too large for comfort. Aninky black, helium-filled polypropylene balloon, this ominous airborne sculpture laid claim, in distinctly intimidating fashion, to the front of Parker's Box's Brooklyn space during the Belgian artist's recent New York solo debut, easily the most assertive work in an otherwise gentle exhibition.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

While Ground Control might recall Fiona Banner's experiments in concrete typography (think of the balloon as a blown-up period), Dekyndt's most obvious counterpart is another Brit, Ceal Floyer. Both artists are concerned with the ephemeral and the immaterial, and with exploring those interests through minimally invasive aesthetic strategies derived from the deadpan, "informational" presentation common to minimal and conceptual art. In Gowanus, for example, Dekyndt takes a highly systematic approach to representing a fleeting physical phenomenon--the surfacing of oil spots on water (here in the notoriously polluted Brooklyn canal). The set of fifty-two uniformly scaled prints additionally recalls Ed Ruscha's 1969 print portfolio, Stains, and Roni Horn's 1999 photographic sequence, Still Water (the River Thames, for Example).

But despite the clear precedents for Gowanus and other works here--the video One Second of Silence (Part 01, New York, 2008), which shows a clear plastic flag fluttering in the wind, for example, reaches back to Jasper Johns's White Flag, 1955-Dekyndt's work does stake out territory of its own. Her fascinations are particular enough that few others are likely to have examined them in an artistic context; the video One Second of Silence navigates via scrolling text a constellation of odd data concerning time and motion, including the fact that sound travels 372 yards in the titular interval. …

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