Critics’ Picks

Untitled, 2001.

Brussels

Lionel Esteve

Galerie Albert Baronian

January 5–February 19, 2002

The work of Lionel Esteve, a young French artist living in Brussels, oscillates between being discrete to the point of invisibility and decidedly indiscreet violence. This installation presents these two tendencies side by side—a combination that possesses its own brand of perverse beauty. The main room is taken up by the movements of Untitled, 2001, a mobile made of a collection of brightly colored elements, attractive baubles tied to one another with nylon thread. A small motor turns the assemblage at a speed that forces the visitor to glue him- or herself to the wall to avoid being caught up in the spider’s web of string and look away in order to not be overwhelmed in the whirlwind of circular, repetitive motion. In the adjacent rooms, Esteve presents a series of his “white” monochrome drawings made using a drypoint to press the image into the paper. Here, two levels of rectangles with rounded corners become, after long looking, sets of clenched teeth as well as symbols of a mouth that remains closed.

Translated from French by Saul Anton.