Critics’ Picks

Constantina Zavitsanos, Boxed Bet (detail), 2019, transmission holograms, acrylic mounts, 5mW red laser, dimensions variable.

Constantina Zavitsanos, Boxed Bet (detail), 2019, transmission holograms, acrylic mounts, 5mW red laser, dimensions variable.

New York

Constantina Zavitsanos

PARTICIPANT INC
253 East Houston Street Ground Floor
September 15–October 27, 2019

A plywood ramp, titled Call to Post (all works 2019), emerges from the floor, extending across the back length of this long, rectilinear gallery. At the far end of the space, it curves upward, turning into a wall. Visitors that gather atop the ramp are bathed in a red light that seems to hover above the darkened room. To the right of this work is a cantilevered vitrine that holds Boxed Bet, a suite of hologram works depicting dice in mid-throw. To the ramp’s left is All the time, a video made up of two overlapping projections, which come from the floor and the ceiling. These three pieces comprise Constantina Zavitsanos’s first solo show, “L&D Motel,” which obliquely returns us to debates regarding architecture and sculpture that animated artistic discourse in New York during the 1960s and ’70s.

This presentation seems to play on Vito Acconci’s Seedbed, 1972. But, unlike Acconci, the artist refuses to make the exhibition a kind of nonconsensual sexual encounter. Zavitsanos instead offers us a sensual space where words (and waves) pass between (and through) all who visit. The video’s open-caption texts—which are only visible when your body blocks one of the projectors—feature phrases such as “all the degrees of freedom necessary to define it” (this particular wording is nested beneath another line reading “that love’s holographic, that touch is impossible”). This triangulated relation is echoed in the transmission holograms. For instance, if one were to cut the hologram’s substrate, it would not halve but double—alluding to a world full of abundance instead of lack.

Every so often, a series of vibrations moves through the space—and everyone in it. Even if you’re not seated on the inclined ground, the infrasonic, low-frequency waves are still palpable. Unlike Acconci’s performance in which he was hidden from view with his voice electronically amplified, Zavitsanos’s show considers perception through multiple, overlapping sensory valences—if you aren’t seeing or hearing it, you can still feel it.