Critics’ Picks

Mitra Saboury, Get Out of Here, 2016, HD video, color, sound, 2 minutes 30 seconds.

Mitra Saboury, Get Out of Here, 2016, HD video, color, sound, 2 minutes 30 seconds.

Los Angeles

Mitra Saboury

Chin’s Push
4917 York Boulevard
January 15–February 5, 2016

The insula, located in the gap between the temporal lobe and the parietal and frontal lobes of the brain, registers mammalian gut feelings—of nausea, full bladders, and pounding hearts. The insulation of a house creates a barrier between the comfort of the interior and potential intruders such as wind, cold, or noise. In this blacked-out and boarded-up gallery, Los Angeles–based artist Mitra Saboury insulates occupants within “Gut House,” an exhibition of three videos and one photograph. With a background in neuroscience and an interest in fusing the body with built environments, Saboury fleshes out and fills in the metaphorical spaces between the attic’s brain and the basement’s bowels.

The hypnotic videos have a plastic sheen and arouse visceral reactions. In No Actually Stay (all works 2016), a hand combs hair into stiff dreads with wet cement, striving for a concrete form. In another, Get Out of Here, a hand pinches putty pimples of their pus, the liquid oozing out to fill the crevices of bathroom tiles. Bare feet narrowly avoid nails, and tongues taste pink insulation for thermal comfort in Mmm. In each work, the body is chopped into frames. Complete structures are never revealed, leaving viewers to fill in the gaps that would make up a human or a home. The isolated fragments are framed in an endless, looping play, simulating the Sisyphean task of keeping a body from secreting out of control.