Critics’ Picks

Matthew Lutz-Kinoy, Music with primates, 2018, acrylic and charcoal on canvas, 118 x 110".

Rome

Matthew Lutz-Kinoy and Ola Vasiljeva

INDIPENDENZA Roma
Via dei Mille, 6
March 15 - May 19

This gallery has a track record of hosting installations that toe the line between art in its more conceptual guises and cutting-edge design. The current exhibition, “Song and Love,” by Matthew Lutz-Kinoy and Ola Vasiljeva, is no exception. Biomorphic objets d’art, armoire-size constructions, and even an embroidered stool are interspersed throughout the top-floor apartments of a converted family palazzo dripping with decaying Novecento grandeur. Skillfully installed on the walls, ceilings, and ornate terrazzo floors of the interconnected chambers are two complementary bodies of work that explore freighted concepts of gender, decoration, and sexuality through curvilinearity, complex figuration, and reflective finishes.

Among Lutz-Kinoy’s plentiful selection of sculptures, drawings, and paintings are his ceramics, assembled from smashed, thrown vessels named for months of the year (“Masks: Gennaio/Dicembre,” 2018). Their subtle anthropomorphism subverts the history of modernist experimentation in that medium with generous humor (Picasso and Fontana all come to mind). Vasiljeva’s layered paper drawings and metallic screens (Cincinnatus C, 2017, for example) also poke fun, caricaturing the scopophilic café society associated with European capitals. Situated at intervals throughout the space are Vasiljeva’s large black plywood sculptures—enigmatic, quasi-utilitarian inventions that balance the slightly sweet cast of Lutz-Kinoy’s abstract canvases and pornographic pencil drawings, as well as Vasiljeva’s own Art Deco–inflected work in blown glass. Speaking to each other, as well as to their environment, the artists participate in a seamless play of reference that refuses neat binaries and upends gendered signifiers while they reinterpret a canon of Italian aesthetics.