Critics’ Picks

Anna K.E., Intangible Economies of Desires (Knee #3), 2018, 3-D rendering, inkjet photo print, color pencil drawing, LED light, aluminum jalousie, glass, Plexiglas, rubber, wood frame, 70 x 60 x 4 1/2". From the series “Intangible Economies of Desires,” 2016–18.

New York

Anna K.E.

Simone Subal Gallery
131 Bowery 2nd Floor
January 12–February 25, 2018

Anna K.E. is a former dancer, and her installation here suggests a kind of choreography, inviting the viewer to slip through and around, weave in and out. Many of her pipelike steel sculptures feature lightbulbs much like the orbs that illuminate New York City subway entrances. One descends from the ceiling, while others jut out at angles, creating an intricate web of architectural armatures for the viewer to navigate.

Appended to these structures are small speakers, each emitting a distinct sound, from crying babies to adults speaking various languages. You feel as though you’ve stepped into a quirky jam session, a hellish daycare—the noises contrast sharply with the cool elegance of the sculptures. Aluminum blocks, coated in marzipan, are inscribed with mysterious texts. One of them, Manifestations Causing Digestions, 2018, reads, “Odorless fiction.” These blocks are ciphers, as intractable and opaque as the language in Marcel Duchamp’s short film Anémic cinéma, 1926, or the leaden, waxy materiality of a Jasper Johns.

Images from a series of 3-D-rendered body parts wrapped in technological apparatuses line the walls (“Intangible Economies of Desires,” 2016–18). Some seem to depict shooting laser beams. The ink-jet prints are occluded in spots by transparent window shutters, blinking LEDs, and shiny metal frames, complicating the viewer’s perceptual encounter. K.E.’s exhibition is an idiosyncratic take on corporeality. The show is neither a didactic illustration of the “posthuman” nor a lament about technological alienation, but something fascinatingly in-between and utterly of the moment.