Critics’ Picks

Daniel Monroy Cuevas, Spectator in the Void (subtitles), 2015, LED display, 75 x 13".

Daniel Monroy Cuevas, Spectator in the Void (subtitles), 2015, LED display, 75 x 13".

Mexico City

Daniel Monroy Cuevas

Arredondo \ Arozarena
Ezequiel Montes #36 Col. Tabacalera
February 3–April 25, 2015

“Espectador en el vacio” (Spectator in the Void) is a highly technical, minimal, and potentially difficult exhibition to grasp. This, however, is just what artist Daniel Monroy Cuevas intended, and from the title, it’s clear the audience will operate in a void or vacuum, allowing for a mysterious narrative to evolve into a space of wonder.

Six works occupy the three spaces of the gallery, including Spectator in the Void (all works cited 2015), a grouping of balls of various sizes made from wrapping VHS tape around itself so precisely that it’s nearly impossible to see the seams of the individual layers, which adhere to themselves by the material’s electromagnetic pull. Upstairs, Spectator in the Void (subtitles) is an LED light ticker that streams phrases from Guy Debord, Derek Jarman, Chris Marker, and Isidore Isou while emitting a yellowy-orange glow that fills the gallery. Analog video technology is utilized once again in the final series, “Floaters Trap 1-6,” for which the artist took short sections of tape, equivalent to one second of video, and marked them by adding then tearing off scotch-tape, or by applying different chemicals and scanning and printing the results. They bear a remarkable resemblance to landscape drawings in ink.

Each of these pieces plays with the extraction and reapplication of light via technology, and Monroy Cuevas’s viewer operates within an abyss of appropriation. The materials employed in the works act as an elusive connecting thread connecting, holding the audience on the precipice of understanding.