Critics’ Picks

Mika Tajima, Force Touch (Manibus, 1), 2017, gold-chromed stainless steel spa jets, fans, MDF, 118 x 165 1/4 x 23 1/2".


Mika Tajima

ul. Wspólna 63
September 22–November 18, 2017

Central to Mika Tajima’s current exhibition is Force Touch (Manibus, 1) (all works 2017), a large wall facing the gallery’s street entrance and blowing air from several gold-chromed stainless-steel spa jets. Although these allude to the meridian points of the human body, it is their alternating gushes of air—irresistible to some visitors’ hands—that suggest life energy, in remarkable contrast with the sterile coldness of the white surface. Pranayama, D, a wooden bust reminiscent of a cervical collar and dotted with Jacuzzi jets, stands on a pedestal nearby. The sculpture’s tactile qualities come from its material: smooth, polished wood. In these works, the limbs and idea of skin as surface—implied by the nozzles’ meridian lines—are trapped in the sculptures. A release of pressure is either exemplified by mechanical activation of the wall piece or simply suggested by the sculpture’s perforations.

Alongside these works, four of Tajima’s new additions to her ongoing series “Negative Entropy,” 2012–, render sounds into textile, as spectrograph images that record various sites of industrial production are expressed via a system of colors assigned to areas of jacquard wool. (Argraf, Rapida, Black, Double) and (Argraf, Rapida, Orange, Quad) were created from sonic capture of a book-printing plant in Warsaw that specializes in art publications, and (Digital Ocean NYC2 4U NAS Unit, Pink, Single) from that of a New York data center supporting the digital cloud.

Extending her interests in the mechanics of production and their effect on the human body, the gold, the spa jets, the pixelated textiles, and the wall—all signature elements of Tajima’s vocabulary—impose on the white cube’s stifling postindustrial aesthetic, leaving in their wake an awkward softness.