Critics’ Picks


Anita Molinero

Consortium Museum
37 rue de Longvic
June 21–September 28, 2014

Since the 1980s, French sculptor Anita Molinero has worked almost exclusively with domestic and often toxic materials, cauterizing, deforming, and smelting chemically fabricated, factory-produced objects. Her current solo exhibition, “Oreo,” appraises the material and conceptual consistency of manufactured products intended to control circulation––traffic signs, road barriers, speed bumps, various packaging materials, etc.––as well as their status as industrially made, environmentally hazardous commodities designed for the public domain.

Take, for example, an untitled series of five large-scale, plastic water tanks that have undergone various degrees of violent compression. Here, flow and circulation congest as these transportable receptacles––meant to contain and regulate the issue of their liquid contents––are left crushed, desiccated, and detached from their intended courses of distribution. More subversive is a new series of modestly sized concrete bricks that the artist took from Paris’s peripheral ring and used here as wall-fixed supports for scraps of litter such as plastic bags or fast-food restaurant containers. Coated in layers of graffiti, these hijacked slabs testify to their former station as demarcations between an insulated cultural capital and the hot, ethnically diverse banlieues, which encircle and chafe the city’s perimeter.

Containment is imported as a power-driven form of regulation in this exhibition, as in Untitled, 2014, an incinerated, monumental block of insulated polystyrene squares suspended from the ceiling. Here, containers become the contained as defective packaging products converted to effective artwork in a rapid recycling of fungible currency. This well-oiled slippage between art and industry, public asset and public onus, is at the crux of Molinero’s sculptural practice.