Critics’ Picks

View of “Mary Audrey Ramirez: They Miss Being Aware of Time,” 2021.

View of “Mary Audrey Ramirez: They Miss Being Aware of Time,” 2021.


Mary-Audrey Ramirez

Polansky Gallery
Veletrzni 45
September 3–October 16, 2021

Mary-Audrey Ramirez’s objects are enlivened by a tension that can be observed more and more often in contemporary art: the incongruity between subjects sourced from the technologically mediated worlds of the internet and movies and their representation in artisanal techniques like bricolage, molding, or sewing. The Luxembourg-born artist’s installation of hand-stitched fabric sculptures in Prague, for example, borrows its motifs from the 1998 feature film adaptation of the cult sci-fi series The X-Files, specifically the moment when the two heroes discover a subterranean nest of mutant bees that promptly attack them.

For her show, titled “They Miss Being Aware of Time,” Ramirez has strung up an asphalt-black beehive made out of padded synthetic textiles in the center of the room. Reminiscent of an massive insect or sea monster—perhaps a kraken—the creature displays its sutures, which lend it a vulnerability that counterintuitively accentuates its threatening aspect. Crawling over it and assaulting each other are larger-than-life stuffed bees—or ants?—that the artist, working with evident love for detail, has sewn together and dyed green, yellow, and pink. Enraged by the devastation of their hive and abandoned by their queen, they’re engaged in a fight to the death; in fact, one bee already lies slain on the floor. All this might sound like puerile spectacle to some, but Ramirez’s gift for translating science-fiction phantasmagoria into what feels like real menace is nothing short of astounding.

Translated from German by Gerrit Jackson.