Critics’ Picks

View of “Edith Dekyndt: Chronology of Tears,” 2014.

Brussels

Edith Dekyndt

Galerie Greta Meert
Rue du Canal 13
April 26 - June 27

Belgian artist Edith Dekyndt marvels at physical phenomena, often going beyond the banal limits of matter to tap into its thaumaturgical potential. In 2004, in an icy alpine region, she experimented with the triboelectric effects of a woolen cover, fascinated by the discharges from its material during the reaction. Exactly ten years later, with ritualistic rehearsal and scientific exactitude, the artist recreated the procedure in an area of the Arctic Circle, the Norwegian Svalbard Archipelago. Her solo exhibition, “Chronology of Tears,” addresses these two iterations.

An image displaying streaks of light dates from the first experiment, while a video installation depicts the material under agitation from the reenactment. Sparks fly in the dark in Static Light, 2004, a slide projection at the entrance to the unlit exhibition space, bearing evidence of the observed event. Meanwhile, the fulminating sound of the vigorously shaken material emanates from Svalbard, 2014, a video projection on display further in the same room. The blanket’s closely framed, wuthering surface, its thunderous rumble, and the sound of electric charges endow the space with an ambiance of gothic turbulence, bringing to mind scenes from Mary Shelley’s science-fiction novel The Modern Prometheus, 1818. Here, too, clashing tenets of science and nature combine to issue forth the quasisupernatural.

Hung adjacent to this video projection is its subject, Untitled, 2014, the stationary three-dimensional cover itself. Coated with small copper plates on one side, this once-seemingly-animate body is here subjected to another kind of alchemy: the exchange of vitality for value as a displayed, melancholic object that could, perhaps, undergo resurrection within the proper conditions.