Katrina Kufer

  • picks October 09, 2018


    There is a sobering rawness in the works of five Cuban and three Middle Eastern artists brought together by curator Sara Alonso Gómez. United by minimalist and conceptual approaches, the pieces poetically embody tension, expressing concern about general states of complacency within various social, cultural, and political spheres. For Citizen of my world, 2018, Ghaith Mofeed has cut and stitched together a map that places Syria at the center and highlights the few countries that welcome Syrian nationals. In Fatma Bucak’s video Scouring the Press, 2016, three women wash text from Turkish newspapers

  • picks July 04, 2018

    Nargess Hashemi

    Nargess Hashemi believes in the possibility of a utopian ideal city. Her vision of its untapped potential is manifested through the exhibition “I will build a tall city interconnected by cul-de-sacs,” where unlabeled imagined blueprints in the form of abstract geometrics are veiled and revealed by her large, undulating, crocheted curtains hanging throughout the exhibition space. While at first the Iranian artist's complex compositions all read similarly, subtleties render Hashemi's idealistic visions meticulously varied.

    These untitled works envelop. Meters-long loose knits recalling craft-oriented

  • picks May 11, 2018

    Lawrence Abu Hamdan

    Sound is a peculiar thing, to which our ears are so finely attuned yet by which we are so often simultaneously confused. Lawrence Abu Hamdan, an artist whose investigations into sound have been used as forensic analyses in legal cases, tackles this issue in his first solo exhibition in France.

    “Disputed Utterance,” 2018, a series of four digital prints accompanied by seven drawings, delicately illustrates palatography, a technique that sometimes utilizes charcoal and olive oil to illustrate how the mouth forms specific sounds. Though off-putting in their grotesque detail, the texts and phonetic

  • picks April 30, 2018

    Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti

    The seven installations here form gathering spaces where architects Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti challenge visitors to identify with the growing phenomenon of permanent displacement. Mindful and intelligent, this retrospective renders their activist-oriented oeuvre secondary to the research and outcomes of their spatially dominant interventions into art, architecture, and refugee communities. For fifteen years, the duo has collaborated with Palestinian refugees on initiatives focused on the changing conditions of displacement, bringing necessary context to their films and installations while

  • picks January 21, 2018

    Mandy Barker

    Floating in disorienting pitch blackness—like outer space or the deep sea—suspended debris indicates life’s pulse. The contextualization is both soothingly familiar and panic inducing. Mandy Barker’s “Plastic Sea” comprises photographs depicting plastic collected from beaches and animal stomachs—a time capsule that suggests how the ocean gifts us not only with crustaceans and seaweed, but also artificial flowers (Soup: Ruinous Remembrance, 2011) and toy turtles (Soup: Turtle, 2011). This stew—a concoction of monochromatic pipes, syringes, and pregnancy tests that coexist with sea creatures (

  • picks October 10, 2017

    Jacob Hashimoto

    The Eclipse, 2017, a large-scale installation of black and white paper circles, dangles from the gallery’s ceiling in a heavy cloud formation. This fragile work offers a soft shadow play that belies its ominous presence. The undulating mass seems to hang in wait: It is both menacing and beckoning. It is a monumental embodiment of the sublime—terrifyingly beautiful—and also indicates Jacob Hashimoto’s inclination toward the technological age.

    The rest of the works in this exhibition present an aggressive aesthetic dissonance that interrupts any individual narrative. Across two of the three gallery

  • picks August 21, 2017

    Marwa Arsanios

    You hear rushing water before seeing pristine mounds of earth with white infrastructural models atop them. Still beckoned by the sound, you see the video, Falling Is Not Collapsing, Falling Is Extending, 2016, from which it emanates. The film depicts a frothy white river foaming with contamination, and over the next eight minutes, you learn how real-estate oligarchs build dumps kilometers from Beirut’s center to devalue the land so they can buy it cheaper later. And then: Chirping birds and barren landscapes switch to machinery and apartments, indicating Beirut’s cyclical destruction and

  • picks June 30, 2017

    “Ghosting of Beings and Worlds”

    Hidden above viewers’ line of sight on the gallery’s left wall is a mathematical formula, titled Vitesse de Fantomisation (Speed of Ghosting), 2010, used for calculating ghosting: the speed of the disappearance of felt moments. Inspired by Laurent Derobert’s 2012 text Mathémathiques Existentielles, which attempts to capture feelings with equations, this monochromatic exhibition is less a foray into apparitions and more an elegant encounter with emotional ephemerality.

    Paul Hage Boutros’s five-year documentation of SMS messages with his partner (Prosthetic Love, 2016) is an entry point to the

  • picks March 13, 2017

    Sara Rahbar

    Dove-gray walls have an unexpectedly soothing effect in this exhibition of Sara Rahbar’s disembodied bronze appendages—eight sets of life-size cast arms and legs, and one head, displayed on the floor, on plinths, and weightlessly hanging from walls—with one lone flag in the corner. The lack of more forceful white walls doesn’t appear gimmicky; instead, it provides an emotionally neutral base for Rahbar’s confrontational, discomforting references to unspecified acts of violence. But the aggressiveness is just a front. The subtle juxtapositions employed discreetly temper every harsh note with an