Monday, July 22, 2019

Olga Balema at Bridget Donahue


Last time talking about the demands for artwork, like pornography, to photograph well; it must be able - in an age of everyone communicating through glass - to connote itself through image. Now, here a show that doesn't photograph well. Instead, like tires danced through by hulking men on tiptoes, your body staged in tripwires*. Connections others have made to the history of empty galleries seems to miss the fact that A, the gallery is full of things and B, empty galleries (even most full exhibitions) do not require such care where you step. (The read of "empty" seems, again, evidence of our perception now dominated by sight rather than haptic presence, proprioception, etc.) The press release even first sentence states: "100% sculpture." If anything the closest counterpart would be something like Dawn Kasper's forest of mic'd cymbals, tense to scream presence with misstep. This is another means of making the body appear, nervous, a perhaps long theme of Balema, but without resort to the "excess body", the biomorphic, lumpy, intestinal. I wonder if Kronz was thinking of Irigaray when writing the PR, writing about "absolute terms" or tautness, which sounds like history and its compartments (empty galleries), and the inability for artworlds like science to easily account for these less "rigid" categories, the "physical reality that continues to resist adequate symbolization" and "necessary to minimize certain of these features of nature, to envisage them, and it, only in light of an ideal status, so as to keep it/them from jamming the works of the theoretical machine." Irigaray.

*Perhaps the connection to minimalism is Michael Fried's objecthood "stage presence" made prickly.

See too: Dawn Kasper at David Lewis, Tony Conrad's Glass, "But so much humanity isn't iron."
Olga Balema at High Art (2), Olga Balema at High Art (1), Olga Balema at Croy Nielsen