Lutz Bacher

3320 18th St
3320 18th St
July 23, 2017–September 17, 2017

Lutz Bacher, untitled, 2017, ink-jet print on paper, dimensions variable.

A straightforward description of Lutz Bacher’s untitled installation belies the work’s understated complexity: The artist has enlarged Donald Trump’s famously jagged signature to almost four feet high and digitally manipulated it into a series of repeats. The resulting image, printed in black ink on approximately 110 running feet of white paper, is stapled to the wall at eye level in the gallery. That’s it.

And yet the plainness of the material, and its matter-of-fact presentation, evokes other forms of visual evidence, such as a polygraph detecting physiological changes in a liar; a seismograph measuring large-scale disruptions in the earth; or the arrhythmic cardiogram of an unsound heart. To which system might we ascribe this particular readout, whose black strokes march angrily across the page?

Lingering with the work amplifies its irritable buzz. The installation begins and ends at random points in the signature, rather than neatly at the D and P. Though the six prints are pieced together carefully at the seams, the edges of the black lines are not smooth, and the ascenders and descenders are printed so that they are occasionally cut off at the edge of the page, as if demonstrating the signer’s dissolute psyche. The irregular staccato letters periodically overlap, talking over itself in a crooked stutter. It is less an autograph and more the irrational bombast of a bully. There’s a lesson to be learned from Bacher’s methodology: Addressing the current political moment might only entail amplifying what’s already there. No need to embellish what’s in plain sight.

Bean Gilsdorf