Critics’ Picks

Jesse Darling, Nank, 2015, welded steel, cast silicon, barbed wire, 26 x 10".

Jesse Darling, Nank, 2015, welded steel, cast silicon, barbed wire, 26 x 10".


Jesse Darling and Brace Brace

2-4 Tottenham Road
May 12–July 11, 2015

Here, our imminent extinction is intimate: This exhibition, “Absolute Bearing,” evokes the delusion of the anchor, the flickering (mis)direction of the compass, the lament of motion itself. Jesse Darling and Brace Brace’s installations are elegiac with political materialities as they imagine a flood that dissolves that which is solid. The physical properties of Darling’s sculptures are sublimated within the viscosity of Brace’s Textiles and Moods for Life Ring by Brace Brace, 2015, a work made up of creased mesh that traps the light, causing it to appear artificial. These pieces gasp for breath.

Perhaps most murky is the poetic play of Brace Brace’s Promotional video for Life Ring by Brace Brace, 2015, and Darling’s sculpture Nank, 2015. The former parodies the emptiness of desire through the trope of a safety tube, a brace on a boat that might save us, while the latter, in title and structure, utilizes the symbol of a gender-fluid identity—metal bending beyond its ductility, multiple arrows pointing to different horizons—to insist upon the fundamental flux of form. While the video’s setting, a sterile waiting room with two chairs, a table with orchids and an Artforum magazine from last summer is a somewhat simplified vision of the aspiring aesthete, the sculpture defies easy meaning: Its north is obscured by a piece of cast silicon and barbed wire, a literally pointless border, fragile yet unsurpassable. We are left alone with the “we”—the only pronoun used in the supporting text—a feeling of extension, of the verge, of falling then reemerging in critical waters.