Critics’ Picks

Hans-Christian Lotz, Rain Over Water , 2015, pig brains, RFID-tag, 5' 4“ x 3' 2” x 1".

Hans-Christian Lotz, Rain Over Water , 2015, pig brains, RFID-tag, 5' 4“ x 3' 2” x 1".

New York

Hans-Christian Lotz

David Lewis
88 Eldridge Street Fifth Floor
May 29–June 27, 2015

In his New York debut, Hans-Christian Lotz presents two bodies of work as potent allegorical puzzles regarding questions of longing, nostalgia, and technical mediation. Near the entrance of the gallery, visitors encounter “Rain Over Water,” a series of eight framed works whose discrete but uniform titles imply a radical negation. Each piece is made of black screen-printed solar panels and inhabited, alternately, by either actual animal brains (from pigs) or zinc casts of the same. These facsimiles embedded in the panels sink into their substrate, the light reflected by the shiny chemical element illuminating the rich blackness swallowing each object. The works with the organic matter meanwhile create no such ghostly projections. Rather, they document the process by which the organic becomes entangled in the inorganic, with a series of trapped airstreams dramatically pulling away from the flattened organs.

In the gallery’s main space are three wall-bound works: isolated automatic sliding doors, their sooty surfaces implying years of use in far different contexts. Like a mechanical jack-in-the-box, each sculpture erupts into jerky, violent motion upon a visitor’s approach. The motion shifts the act of artistic reception from passive reflection toward a more reactive response to this familiar but somehow jarring event. Above each sliding door, the artist leaves its animating mechanisms exposed while adorning them with a series of mysterious, out-of-reach objects: A musical flute suspended with strings and its decrepit cast facsimile are the most legible.

Opting to present his show with no title or formal press release, Lotz renders his poetics with the flair of a hard-boiled cyberpunk author—choosing unapologetic machinations over the more reverent Marxist sentiment with which so many of his contemporaries address life’s confrontation with the Anthropocene.