Céline Condorelli

P!
334 Broome Street
April 23, 2017–May 21, 2017

View of “Céline Condorelli: Epilogue,” 2017.

“Epilogue,” the architect-artist Céline Condorelli’s current exhibition about exhibitions marks the swan song of P!, Prem Krishnamurthy’s “mom-and-pop Kunsthalle,” which has, in its fleeting five years, staged more than forty shows and offsite projects, many of them prodding the fraught marriage of form and the social. A happy pairing, then, as Condorelli’s work has long been invested in ransacking the political implications of historical models of display while proposing new ones. Here, the artist, in the spirit of the gallery, is reflexive: The exhibition takes as fodder the institutional memory of the space while it considers the ways in which display—already a practice of hiding and revealing—is historicized. Condorelli finds the conceit of the afterimage useful. In the print It’s All True, 2017, P!’s storefront is obscured with a palimpsest of its past shows; After Image (Bayer), 2017, is composed of a series of graphic vinyl forms adhered to the front window, which fractures and flattens our view into or out of the gallery.

Condorelli takes on an interlocutor in Bauhaus polymath Herbert Bayer, a seminal if controversial figure in the history of exhibition design. (Though Bayer’s sympathies were ultimately unclear, he designed propaganda for the Nazi party.) She includes his 1930 drawing/collage Extended Field of Vision, where an eye in a suit (think of art collective/rock band the Residents) stands before a field of variously hinged planes, their vectors demonstrating the reach of his vision—Bayer was already attuned to the extreme demands the media puts on our attention. The work is installed on a brick substrate that was exposed by the artist when she excised a piece of the gallery’s plaster wall. She repurposed the removed part to make an upholstered bench (Alteration to Existing Conditions [II], 2017), a support for conversation. Indeed, though the gallery’s legacy will be compressed into digital impressions, it will likewise be fleshed out anew in discursive space.

— Annie Godfrey Larmon