Critics’ Picks

Bob Wysocki, Post Metal, 2008, sand and electric fans. Installation view.

Bob Wysocki, Post Metal, 2008, sand and electric fans. Installation view.


Bob Wysocki

Flight 19
1004 East Twiggs Street
August 30–November 8, 2008

Bob Wysocki’s Post Metal, 2008, presents one hundred thousand pounds of sand—refined of any metallic elements—arranged into a crescent-shaped dune in Flight 19’s converted historic train-station wing. Installed in the gallery is an array of industrial fans blowing nonstop, which began transforming the curved volume when the exhibition opened. Referencing Robert Smithson’s non-site displacements, Post Metal demonstrates the vivid process of wind patterns in the space combining with the architecture to render structural effects in the sand. The powder-fine grains are continually redistributed by the air currents, creating elaborate capillary dunes that record and follow subtle directional patterns of the wind across the surface of the landscape. Significantly, the innermost cornice of the dune shifts gradually away from the direction of the wind.

The appearance of animal tracks across the dune's surface underscores Post Metal’s transformation from a formless entity into a highly specific index of the exhibition site. Post Metal offers a distortion: Natural, romantic landscape meets severe, serial artifice of the purely constructed. The installation subjects ideas of nature and reality to an infinite interplay between the synthetic and the organic. Post Metal also points to how technology has made incursions on—and wholly transformed—the natural. The array of fans creates a monotonous whirring sound that heightens the tension between the constructed and the created, and displaced, landscape.