Critics’ Picks

View of “Adam Avikainen: CSI: DNR,” 2015.

View of “Adam Avikainen: CSI: DNR,” 2015.


Adam Avikainen

Monitor | Rome
via Sforza Cesarini 43a Palazzo Sforza Cesarini
May 19–July 12, 2015

A lively dialectic between apparently dissimilar elements typifies Adam Avikainen’s work. The American artist confronts the pictorial through predominantly abstract themes but maintains an implicit need for narrative, which is often expressed through texts and photographs. His latest solo exhibition, “CSI: DNR,” short for Crime Scene Investigation: Department of Natural Resources, alludes to “bodies”—real or painted—presented as if involved in a violent, unresolved event.

The show is installed like a split screen. In the room to one side of the entrance, ten large-scale canvases are suspended in a modular and vertical installation, with one piece next to another tumbling down to the floor, where an abundance of material invites the public to walk. The colors in these works are magnetic—natural pigments are mixed with honey and mint, arousing the senses of smell and taste. Moreover, these works bring to mind the all-encompassing experiments of Pinot Gallizio, particularly Caverna dell’antimateria (Cave of Antimatter), 1959, in which he transformed the artistic gesture into an infinite reiteration, industrial in tone.

In the other room, 333 photographic images and an equal number of texts can be consulted. Here, micro- and macrocosm, human and terrestrial body correspond continually in Avikainen’s stream-of-consciousness writings as well as in emails he sent to heads of governments and other key figures, composed in an enigmatic and divinatory style. Throughout this show, Avikainen invites the viewer to accompany him on a journey along a temporal, diachronic line, where scientific and fictional data coexist as hypothetical solutions to contingent and universal questions.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.