Critics’ Picks

Stone Wall, 2001.

Stone Wall, 2001.


Monica Bonvicini

Chouakri Brahms

September 5–October 8, 2001

“A play of/with power and control.” Bonvicini uses these words to describe her latest project, Stone Wall, 2001, a fence made up of linked steel poles, glass panels, and fat metal chains. The sculpture, which is attached to the gallery walls, effectively cordons off the exhibition area, transforming the white cube of the gallery space into a forbidden security zone. By creating a protective barrier around an empty space, Bonvicini evidently wants us to take a long, hard look at the aesthetics of security measures commonly used to control public space. Although the barrier shows signs of an ongoing struggle—the glass panels are cracked, and the chains have been knotted together in the improvised manner of a makeshift repair—Bonvicini nevertheless underscores the decorative side of security, neutralizing the very elements that divide us. A series of drawings executed and framed in an emergency shade of red repeats the chain-link motif and cites the rebellious lyrics of old rock songs rearranged into cryptic messages: ”BE THE END MUST THIS” reads one of these. While initially influenced by the recent G-8 demonstrations at Genoa, Bonvicini has perhaps ended up with an eerie premonition of a new wave of security.