Critics’ Picks

View of “Karla Black,” 2014.


Karla Black

Goseriede 11
December 13 - March 2

Transparent adhesive tape is not normally visible, but in this exhibition it appears as a curtain of delicately glancing light. Karla Black’s Stop Counting (all works 2013), hanging vertically between the ceiling and floor, consists of hundreds of see-through strips that have been altered only by the artist’s paint-stained fingerprints. This provides the work with a notion of the individual while also reflecting the physical process of its production.

Black’s stagings, which are reminiscent of theatrical sets, are often created as site-specific interventions that restructure the space they occupy. But elements in the rest of the exhibition are left purposely without form: Take Let’s Have, which is comprised of cotton pads that have been soaked in fingernail polish and kneaded by hand until the polish has been evenly distributed. Imagine Living consists of strips of aluminum that have been rolled coarsely and then folded and erected, creating sculptures that only stand upright due to the clumps of Vaseline stored in their interiors. These performative actions, kneading and rolling, are an essential part of Black’s sculptural process and are marked by a certain kind of brutality. Another work, Deserves to Mean, further exhibits this: A globe perfectly formed from earth and balsa wood has been hastily filled in with eye shadow. Piles of earth, spilled paint pigments, and constructed plastic film are, in the end, impermanent gestures. After the exhibition, they can simply be swept up and discarded.

Translated from German by Diana Reese.