Critics’ Picks

View of “DAS INSTITUT,” 2016.

View of “DAS INSTITUT,” 2016.



Serpentine Galleries
Kensington Gardens
March 3–May 15, 2016

Kerstin Brätsch and Adele Röder, who collaborate under the name DAS INSTITUT, conjure polymorphic forms that merge painting with cosmology. Brätsch’s series of prints, “Unstable Talismanic Rendering,” 2014/16, mimics the psychedelic surfaces of marble. Her prints are composed horizontally in water baths, where ink droplets fall and take shape along a mercurial surface. Brätsch’s prints are affixed to temporary walls and act as ceremonial gateways for the rest of the exhibition. In one room, large-scale slide projections, collectively titled Dark Codex, 2016, combine images of Brätsch’s paintings with Röder’s body prints. On glass slides, the artists’ pictures become unified surfaces. Two projectors cycle through these images—they mix and break, shuttling between the celestial and the mineralogical. The work proposes an alternative zodiac to reorient the body.

In another gallery is Flame Creatures, 2015, a multichannel light and sound piece by the artist Sergei Tcherepnin. Brätsch’s inflamed monsters, the “KAYA Mylars,” 2015, are composed on clear plastic sheets. They are illuminated by theater lamps and COMCORRÖDER Deep Sleep, 2010/15, a neon piece by Röder. The sound track to Flame Creatures is made up of all manner of sonic debris: from interstellar space, maybe insects, and other odd fragments. Through all the cast shadows, Brätsch’s phantasmagoria mutate into molecular patterns, where figure and ground begin to dissolve.