Critics’ Picks

Ghislaine Leung, Push to Shove (detail), 2017, foamcore, tape, carpet, rubber, phones, night lights, video, photos, paper, acetate, mirror, extension cables, cable ties, 24 x 44 x 33".


Ghislaine Leung

Cell Project Space
258 Cambridge Heath Road
February 1–March 19

Ghislaine Leung’s current exhibition presents sound, videos, and sculptures among a variety of vinyl texts installed on ten large glass panels. The pieces all bleed into one another: Sounds become textual in their ability to lead the imaginary; words appear audible by incarnating registers of tone, style, and drive; narratives become literally built in as objects.

Playing from a round speaker inserted into a wall is a loop of scores and sound effects that evoke a connection to silent cartoons. In Huh, 2016, doors open and close, phones vibrate, voices murmur. The vinyl texts seem to recount, transcribe, and refabricate events, anecdotes, and conversations. Although casual in appearance, Leung’s precise and stylistic use of language can offer up moments of intimacy, detachment, or confusion. Mushroom nightlights plugged in sets of two (Shrooms, 2016) create a vague calmness; a soft, gray-green carpet on the floor (In the Pudding, 2016) and filtered neon tubes (Gloamed, 2016) give a drowsy, albeit melodramatic, ambiance to the space.

In a separate room is Push to Shove, 2017, a scaled-down, institutional-looking structure lowered onto Pictures, 2017, an elevated floor that is covered in black, thick rubber—too clean and slick to be kinky. Nevertheless, both pieces retain a provocative adultness that brawls between different kinds of play. The artist’s environment is quietly sinister, uneasy. Leung, like a skilled raconteur, repeatedly conceals and reveals, creating blank spots—or incomplete cuts—where she can move blissfully, and seemingly without effort.