Critics’ Picks

Bogosi Sekhukhuni, Consciousness Engine 2: absentblackfatherbot (detail), 2014, two-channel video, color, sound, 4 minutes 20 seconds.

New York

Bogosi Sekhukhuni

Foxy Production
2 East Broadway 200
March 18–May 6

Bogosi Sekhukhuni’s inaugural US show is steeped in longing, invoking, again and again, the cruelty and greed of the good-for-nothing fourth dimension, time. The exhibition’s most moving piece is a two-channel video, Consciousness Engine 2: absentblackfatherbot, 2014. Two screens stand on tripods several feet apart, facing one another. Each displays a disembodied face at its center, looking straight ahead while floating before a gilded background. One avatar represents Sekhukhuni and the other, his estranged father. They converse through digitally manipulated voices, reciting real, heartbreakingly mundane conversations that the artist and his father had via Facebook Messenger. Long periods of silence indicate psychic strain between them, and the quiet tension is perhaps worse than the small talk they exchange. Sekhukhuni’s father eventually blocked him on the app. Though the piece is cleverly conceived, its cool does nothing to freeze out the work’s vulnerability, its rawness.

Among the show’s other notable works is GRAVITY, 2018, a jet-black sculpture of a rubber ball that sits atop a tiny trampoline. It’s a reenactment of the common high-school science-class demonstration of how planets warp space-time. It may also allude to Sekhukhuni’s desire to manipulate his own history to soothe a life full of troubles. Trilobyte 1 and 2, 2018, are drawings of the long-extinct arthropods—they seem to reach out across the eons and say, quite sincerely, we are kin.