Critics’ Picks

Ceal Floyer, Mutual Admiration, 2015, speakers, stands, audio, 56 x 33 x 17".


Ceal Floyer

Esther Schipper
Potsdamer Strasse 81E
November 6–December 19

Ceal Floyer’s practice consists of tiny gestures that consistently add up to a sum of intrigue and joviality. There are only five works in her current exhibition, and they’re enough. The show is all about boundaries: so much fun to trespass, so confusing in their essential arbitrariness. One is a row of small black rectangular objects running all the way across the floor, forming a mini wall. Are they dominos? We assume so, given the title, Domino Effect (all works 2015), and their appearance in profile, though we cannot see their faces to confirm that they have dots, as they are packed in a tight line from one wall to another. In a simple reversal, over the white windows of the gallery are installed black powder-coated steel Bars. Normally, such bars would be on the outside, preventing potential intruders. Now, we can’t get out. A slight panic sets in, and so we turn ourselves around to confront some more boundaries.

On one wall is Contacts, a suite of drawings made by rendering people’s contact numbers stored in the artist’s phone into strange geometrical lines and shapes. Translation as obfuscation: The numbers can barely be deciphered, let alone dialed. In another room is the incessant clapping sound of Mutual Admiration, wherein two speakers on stands are face to face—lovers about to make out, the clapping ping-ponging endlessly between them. The room is otherwise empty, save for a single Saw sticking out from the floor with a line drawn to form a nearly full carved circle, though the gag is obvious—the carve is clearly drawn on with some sort of marker. What a show. Indeed, Ceal Floyer is a savvy swayer, a maven cracker of aesthetic one-liners that burn with a sustained snap.