Critics’ Picks

Eduardo Basualdo, The End of Ending, 2012, black aluminum foil, wood, wire, dimensions variable.

Berlin

Eduardo Basualdo

PSM
Schöneberger Ufer 61
September 11 - October 20

What happens when we arrive at an exhibition and, instead of finding some object or objects on which to focus our viewing experience, the object itself frustrates that effort? This is what happens when engaging with Eduardo Basualdo’s The End of Ending, 2012—which does have to be engaged with, consisting as it does of a large black object that almost fills the entire gallery. The piece imposes itself not only into the gallery, but also into the viewer’s personal viewing space with its striking scale, which has a decentralizing effect by forcing the navigation around the work to act as a new conduit for viewing: In order to find what’s around its crumpled surface, one must crouch, hunch, and touch. That said, the work is impressive not merely because of its size; it also has an organic quality that piques our inquisitiveness. Walking around the inflatable structure, you can see its active movement, and hear its subtle shifts, almost as if it has a life of its own.

Made with a thin, black metal foil used by lighting technicians in the film and theater industries, the piece was formed by laying out such strips and folding the edges together, inflating it to fit the space, then forming it into shape using a homemade tool. Its folds make it look like a giant alien rock, but its motion makes it appear to be breathing. Basualdo has used this material for site-specific sculptural installations before, sometimes using a motor or sound, adding a dramatic effect. But here the work is not overly theatrical; rather, the interiority of the object is brought outward by using the space between the sculpture and the gallery.