Critics’ Picks

View of “Daiga Grantina,” 2014.

Paris

Daiga Grantina

GALERIE JOSEPH TANG
1 rue Charles-François Dupuis Building B, 2nd Floor
October 23–December 13

In psychoanalytic terms, a visual or a literary preoccupation with abject forms, such as sludge or refuse, is a manifestation of the death drive—an instinctive, often repressed aspiration to return to formless, corporeal material. Daiga Grantina obliquely explores this fascination with indescribable matter via diverse references and an abstract, plastic lexicon. For instance Crashino (all works 2014), which references J. G. Ballard’s 1973 novel Crash, consolidates scrap materials: a repurposed red plastic automobile brake light; slot-machine ribbons that depict iconic fruit shapes. Patches of red sprouts resembling algae populate the assemblage’s surface, altogether secured by red thread coated with an eerie yet appealing clear acrylic gel.

Nearby, an otherworldly mood permeates Quitting the House, a vertically oriented composite of white gel matted over and through a twisting bulk of silver twine suspended from the ceiling by cord and hook. This thick, congealed braid meets the floor in the shape of an eccentric-looking tripronged claw that alludes to Baba Yaga, a forest-hut-dwelling female archetype from Slavic folklore and a historically ambiguous figure whose abode was set atop an unforgettable identifying feature: a pair of chicken legs. 1930s-era Russian critics associated the stilt-based houses designed by Le Corbusier with the avian appendages, which here signify Grantina’s fixation on misshapen anatomies. According to Grantina, the sculpture at the gallery entrance, ЯR—an interpretation of a carnival taffy-pulling machine, rendered with reflective polycarbonate foil, upon which a white, circular grid against a fuchsia background has been digitally projected—is intended to provide an amorphous, glimmering map to the somatic exhibition that follows.