Critics’ Picks

View of “Johan Zetterquist,” 2007.

Stockholm

Johan Zetterquist

Andréhn-Schiptjenko
Hudiksvallsgatan 8 2nd Floor
January 10 - February 10

Large-scale public art is not sexy; the bombastic, phallic monuments that can allure often draw viewers toward toxic political ideas. For Johan Zetterquist’s second exhibition at this gallery, the artist continues to find ways to reinvigorate the public-art tradition, creating excessive, Conceptual, and utopian proposals that take the form of models and drawings. Because the works are unlikely to be realized at the intended scale, Zetterquist himself creates installations and sculptures. Some of the eight proposals presented here are quite large, like Proposal No 1, Self-Supporting Group of Supporters and Providers Supporting and Providing the One (all works 2007), which has a descriptive subtitle: A windmill park where the energy produced by the mills is used to make the blades of one windmill turn the other way around, against the wind. Some are self-reflexive: Proposal No 5: Partly Buried Very Tall Buildings underlines the absurdity of the artist’s project, challenging how law and order are upheld in the real, ultimately bureaucratic world. The show undeniably oozes testosterone, emphasized by works like Proposal No 19: Cheaper Gas for Hot Rods and Muscle Cars, which is intended “to make the cityscape more beautiful.” And when Zetterquist penetrates a celestial body—in Proposal No 14: Hole Through the Moon—it’s impossible not to laugh with him. But laughter may stick in one’s throat upon considering the fact that should the proposal be executed, it would extinguish life on earth with an unequaled tidal flood. With its diversity of objects, this tightly packed exhibition looks like a group show, but the artist’s liberating insouciance and nearly apocalyptic sensibility are so tightly woven into the works that it’s unmistakably the result of one mind.