55-59 Chrystie Street
July 12 - August 9
In Andrea Crespo’s company, more than two is far from a crowd. The artist’s second solo show their first in New York is themed by “multiple systems”—the state of being one or two or six in a single body—but it’s less an expedition into relatively unmarked territory than it is a slumber fort for those who’ve never really been at home. Four microfiber shades, drawn with hydra-headed creatures, lead-colored flecks, and/or pale motifs such as the Celexa logo, palliate the sun in the windows. On the floor, a small machine (polymist: echolalic transponder, 2015) tries to sift remembering from pain using Crespo’s Eraserhead-ish score and an EMDR light bar, the flickers of which you track with your eyes, catlike, while sitting on a puzzle piece of foam. Mirroring the adage that the artist’s therapy is art itself, “polymorphoses” makes the viewer be patient. Eventually it’s the first time in years you’ve stood alone in a gallery and felt seen. “I am all of yourselves,” Clarice Lispector said, and so could Crespo.
An eleven-minute video, parabiosis: neurolibidinal induction complex 2.2, 2015, mixes more creatures and puzzle pieces with bar codes and squiggles and such affirmations as “you are a signal,” followed by lists of URLs and jargon, yet all of it is language all the same. Crespo’s portmanteaus alone are worth the trip, such as teratosyzygy (host), 2015, where the prefix for “monstrous” or “birth defective” meets the astronomical term for the alignment of three heavenly bodies. One result of said syzygy is an eclipse, which is also what the artist’s reflective brilliance does to lingering questions about their identity. Yet theirs is no après-Net attempt to occlude responsibility by sustaining the hoax of dead authorship; rather, they mean to spread authorship, sharing a body of work with others—for example, by commissioning illustrations from members of their community on DeviantArt—as righteously as they share their physical body.
Crespo’s fort has a purely material trendiness: Cables lace the room, data-security boxes stud, a Game Boy comes out to play. Even the fuzzy avatars and corresponding aliases for different selves aren’t altogether original to their practice. None of that matters. As we all know from fairy tales, lots of children owned the same toys, but only a few could make them live—and Crespo is one of the few, no matter how many they may be.