Critics’ Picks

Sabrina Gschwandtner, Phototatic Behavior in Sewn Slides (detail), 2004, Kodak Ekpatro 9000 slide projector, 35-mm slides, and thread.

New York

“A Fold in the Fabric”

298 Grand Street
November 16–December 16

A focus on materiality threads through the audio and visual installations in this group show, which, at times, are impossible to hear, can be missed in the blink of an eye, or emerge only via interpreter. The last is literally true in Dominique Petitgand’s two-speaker installation Proportions, 2006, wherein a French narrator provides definitions of phenomenological experiences while a translator attempts, largely unsuccessfully, to explain her thoughts in English. As the characters speak, diegetic sounds of clatter and music isolate the words lost in translation to alienating effect. Andy Graydon also explores the agency of language, albeit with a Lacanian twist: In Spec to Spectrum (three solids), 2006, a pair of speakers serve as bookends to an autographed stack of papers whose slight movements index the artist’s voice as it quietly emanates. The permeability of image—rather than sound—is taken up in Sabrina Gschwandtner’s Phototactic Behavior in Sewn Slides, 2004, a stunning slide show of abstract, sewn images. Each slide is projected for ten seconds, just long enough for one to notice the loose ends of thread gently swaying in the breeze generated by the antiquated machine’s whirring fan. Weaving in and out of large holes—akin to film burns—the thread keeps the image blurry, as the projector’s automatic focus fails to render each perfectly. Several performances and screenings that accompany the exhibition further demonstrate materiality on the verge of obsolescence in the face of our slick, increasingly digitalized, and all too easily deciphered culture.