Critics’ Picks

Hermes Payrhuber, Ode to the Rope with a Knot with a Hole, for Thomas Bernhard, 2016, mixed media, dimensions variable.

Hermes Payrhuber, Ode to the Rope with a Knot with a Hole, for Thomas Bernhard, 2016, mixed media, dimensions variable.

New York

“DIS-PLAY / RE-PLAY”

Austrian Cultural Forum New York
11 East 52nd Street
May 4–September 5, 2016

A loose inspiration for Hermes Payrhuber’s multimedia installation Ode to the Rope with a Knot with a Hole, for Thomas Bernhard, 2016, is the titular author’s 1971 novella, Walking. The book, which is about a man triggered to madness by a questionable set of trousers in a storefront, contains frantic and labyrinthine monologues on perception, experience, and the state. Walking is an apt metaphor for this show, which seeks to corrupt the white cube’s displacing capabilities, despite the modern exhibition’s attempts to divorce viewers from realities beyond its parameters.

Martin Beck’s one day after another, 2014–15, reproduces his notes and philological meditations regarding the words exhibition and display on letter-size pigment prints. They confront the show’s overarching theme: Brian O’Doherty’s Inside the White Cube: The Ideology of the Gallery Space (1976), a text examining the history and atemporalizing effects of this (by now) very familiar context for art. Judith Barry’s video installation They Agape, 1978—depicting two female architects talking against a sound track with songs by Gang of Four and the B-52s—comes to life via a motion sensor, forcing spectators to complete a piece projected across two adjoining walls. Similarly, Beck’s appropriation of his own writings highlights what O’Doherty calls the “flow of energy between concepts of space articulated through the artwork and the space we occupy.” Beck literally reframes his texts within the idiosyncratic gallery, while Barry employs silence, punk rock, blank walls, and the mundanity of architectural work to reveal the labor of spatial production, and, more pointedly, the erasure of women in said production by the very institutions of representation.