Critics’ Picks

Christopher. . ., 2003. Installation view.

New York

Kristian Burford

I-20 Gallery
557 West 23rd Street
December 13–January 29

The focal point of Kristian Burford's latest installation, Chistopher. . . , 2003, is a hyperrealistic fiberglass sculpture of a nude young man who lies across a bed, the fingers of one hand dangling into a goblet filled with water. As the work’s full title (which runs to over a hundred words) explains, the setting is the young man’s dead mother’s sewing room, and he's put his hand in the goblet in an attempt to bring about some self-induced bed-wetting. Intimations of an especially unsavory family romance are amplified by the room’s decor, a slovenly profusion of bedspreads, throw pillows, and old suitcases. The whole scene is enclosed in a rectangular structure made of curtains draped over a frame; visitors have to peer through apertures in the fabric, a mode of viewing that mimics hermetic, scopophiliac entertainments like the nickelodeon and the peep show. Christopher. . . is the fifth in a series of similar mixed-media tableaux, which Burford calls “houses.” Architecturally, the works resemble houses only in the most rudimentary sense, but they do seem to capture everything that’s unheimlich about home.