Critics’ Picks

Iza Tarasewicz, Battling with Cosmic Forces, 2021, oxidized steel, dimensions variable.

Iza Tarasewicz, Battling with Cosmic Forces, 2021, oxidized steel, dimensions variable.


Alice Creischer and Iza Tarasewicz

Signal - Center for Contemporary Art
Monbijougatan 17H
November 12, 2021–February 27, 2022

In the mid-’70s, Josef Beuys, famously, shared a room with a coyote. Alice Creischer, a Rhinelander of the following generation, collapses artist and carnivore into a single figure with In the Stomach of the Predators, 2012–14, a twenty-two-minute video and mixed-media installation comprising costumes and props. Playing off the auspicious legacy of postwar American Conceptualism, the film foregrounds the voracious nature of capitalism through vignettes featuring four humanoid beasts—a wolf, a hyena, a bear, and a jackal–on a languorous procession from the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in rapidly melting Spitsbergen, Norway, to sites of land grabbing in Istanbul and Cotonou, Benin. As if sending a jolt through Beuys’s inert metaphor, Creischer merges the belly of the beast with the surreal theater of transnational investment, as embodied and performed by some of those it leaves most exposed: artists.

Installed on a wall as a sprawling collage is Creischer’s poem, The hat speaks, the rake speaks, the scythe whispers to the ear in the grass, 2019, which tabulates a human life as a series of values. The image of the scythe carries over into Iza Tarasewicz’s two oxidized-steel sculptures, which, drawing on a kind of abstracted agricultural lexicon, speak to the post-1989 waves of automation in Poland. Battling Cosmic Forces, 2019, fans out like a pair of wings on the entrance wall, while Vortex, 2019, spirals upward in the shape of an inoperative harvester fork, abandoned by capitalism and thus exempt—if not emancipated—from human interest.