Critics’ Picks

Kirstine Roepstorff, Heart of the Whale, 2017, brass and steel mobile, 35 x 62 x 7".


Kirstine Roepstorff and Matyáš Chochola

Last Tango
Gasometerstrasse 30
December 8–January 27

Upon entering the main exhibition space of Last Tango, one is hit by the pungent smell of fresh asphalt. Most of the floor is covered with sheets of it, and some of the walls are painted matte black. This oppressive and industrial environment is occupied by the strange sculptures of Matyáš Chochola. Consisting of glass, melted asphalt, and various types of found objects, they tend to resemble crystal formations, such as “X-Rays,” 2015–17, or echo Cubist sculptures, as in No Name, 2017. These works are paired with debris of recently obsolete digital technology, including an old ink-jet printer or a CD rack. One piece from the “X-Ray” series appears as if it were an exotic mineral growing from the printer, while No Name, incorporating a minidisc player, is reminiscent of a gravestone. The installation brings to mind a sci-fi cemetery where technology goes to be laid to rest.

Above this macabre landscape hovers a mobile by Kirstine Roepstorff titled Heart of the Whale, 2017. Made of brass and steel wires, its design evokes at once Art Deco and retrofuturism, while its materials recall those of musical instruments. Indeed, the artist refers to “timbre” and “vibration” when discussing this body of work, which in turn speaks to historical precedents, especially Earle Brown’s Calder Piece, 1963–66, in which an Alexander Calder sculpture is used for percussion. Seen from this perspective, her large collages on the walls become scores, and some of them, such as Spherical Music 5, 2012, directly refer to music. In dialogue with the works of Chochola, Roepstorff’s pieces become a visualization of the funereal tunes reverberating through the necropolis of technology.