Critics’ Picks

Polling Station, 2001.

New York

Fabrice Gygi

Swiss Institute / CONTEMPORARY ART
38 St Marks Pl
May 31–August 18

With America still smarting from its recent electoral debacle, Fabrice Gygi’s new installation should tweak a few raw nerves. Outfitting the gallery with the unmarked fixtures and fittings of a generic polling station, the Swiss artist conjures a mute but politically charged arena. His deadpan arrangement of unoccupied wooden bench, blank steel notice board, empty voting booth, and transparent plastic ballot box also make for cool, formally elegant sculpture. But Gygi’s first solo exhibition in the US is no one-liner, as each individual element hums with its own associations. Most of these have an appropriately institutional flavor, and leave an eerie, forbidding aftertaste. Indistinct conversation drifting in from the office only adds to a feeling of justified paranoia.