Critics’ Picks

Pakui Hardware, The Host 2, 2021, stainless steel, fabric, resin, glass, 59 x 47".

Pakui Hardware, The Host 2, 2021, stainless steel, fabric, resin, glass, 59 x 47".


Pakui Hardware

via Giuseppe Pecchio 3
September 15–November 30, 2021

Walking through “Host,” Pakui Hardware’s first solo show in Italy, is a delicate affair. Precariously installed tables rest on thin metallic legs that taper into the sharpest of stilettos. Black cables run from each table along the floor and into sockets in the wall. Metallic arms holding beautifully blown glass circles float above each table at the average viewer’s height. We are in a surgery of sorts—a remotely controlled one whereby the surgeon, miles away, operates on a patient via a robotic counterpart. How will the rapidly expanding field of telemedicine alter the relationship between care and human touch, and what might this portend for human connection more broadly?

This question is at the root of Lithuanian duo Neringa Cerniauskaite and Ugnius Gelguda’s three-part series, which began on a monumental scale at Baltic Gateshead this May, and which “Host” concludes. On separate tables lie three draped bodies, gorgeous resin casts of translucent beige or black and derived from recomposed, rescaled anatomical models of human intestines. Their solid shape flutters into light drapery: Is the body alive or dead? A blown-glass cylindrical shape, colored sunset orange or yellow, rests atop each body, while the surgeon’s virtual eye hangs above. Beneath the drapery, you glimpse neon lights decorated with chia seeds and silicone, a fusion of natural and synthetic materials. This is a space we all dread—vulnerable, at the mercy of someone else’s care—yet Pakui Hardware have succeeded in creating a mesmerizing environment that pushes us to confront the implications of hybrid healthcare.