Critics’ Picks

View of “Denial,” 2013.


Anicka Yi

Lars Friedrich
Kantstrasse 154a
November 29–January 25

Featuring a large ice crystal slowly melting in the center of this domestic yet spruce space—a one-time configuration specially conceived for the opening—Anicka Yi’s Berlin debut exhibition “Denial” exudes a Conceptualist vibe, as if it were recreating a sixties downtown loft happening. Contrary to the stylish installation that sees the majority of the show’s pieces lit and nested in the rectangular cavities of a lilac-gray wall and the glistening materiality that ties the works together (think tinted Perspex, chrome rings and bars, and translucent epoxy, with the occasional enhancing supplement such as a fish oil capsule), Yi manages to resourcefully spoil the cultivated presentation and the various appetites it whets.

Mimetic Peanuts (all works 2013), what appears to be a rough-looking but conceivably tasty Pan-Asian novelty snack, is actually made from dog treats. At the other end of the animal-to-android diet being sampled here, Tyrannical Eating consists of a blank CD that sticks out of a slit in the wall with a dollop of honey on top, a possible suggestion of some office cubicle kink. Yi not only takes care of but also takes pleasure in the ongoing fashion of animating the inanimate. She however endows (her) objects not so much with precariously political agency but instead with the thankless job of perpetually offering us fleeting distraction from urban dejection. As her entertaining text with Jordan Lord that accompanies the exhibition contemplates, Yi’s magpie syntheses of things may literally act as social glue, or better, as bondage, where “couples therapy” and an “Hermès keychain” become inseparable.