Critics’ Picks

Tara Kelton, “Black Box,” (detail), 2018, digital prints on Hahnemuhle paper, 21 1/2 x 21 1/2”.

Tara Kelton, “Black Box,” (detail), 2018, digital prints on Hahnemuhle paper, 21 1/2 x 21 1/2”.


Sophia Brueckner and Tara Kelton

GALLERYSKE | Bangalore
2 Berlie Street, Langford Town
November 2–December 15, 2018

Pinkish-gold curtains open to a room in which a smiling white man sits alertly over a glass desk. A large CCTV camera points directly at him. A Corinthian column decorates one end of the room, an Ikebana arrangement the other. Glitter speckles the scene, lit by a sloping peach light. The image forms part of the series “Black Box,” 2018, for which Tara Kelton interviewed Uber drivers in Bangalore, asking them to describe “what Uber looks like.” Using their responses as visual cues, Kelton commissioned local photography studios to produce representations from their existing image banks. The kitschy results reflect the sharp disconnect between the lived reality of Uber’s employees and their romantic idealizations of company rhetoric.

For IT Exterior II, 2018, Kelton painted an oil-on-linen diptych of a single powder-blue cloud, cut up by the gridded frame of a high-rise steel-and-glass building. Accompanying the painting is Viewing Bench, 2018, a plain rectangular sculpture made of highly flammable aluminum-composite panels, the omnipresent cladding in Bangalore’s IT parks, as well as the material that fueled London’s Grenfell fire last summer.

Kelton is joined by artist Sophia Brueckner, a former Silicon Valley software engineer. In Brueckner’s “Captured by an Algorithm,” 2012-, eight Japanese porcelain plates are lovingly ornamented with “Kindle Popular Highlights” from romance novels. “All she wanted was to matter,” reads one in italics that curve over lightly dabbled pink and red roses, “to be more than an opportunity.” In Code That Sings Itself, 2011, the artist samples herself singing and breathing heavily over the built-in microphone of her computer as a C++ program maps her actions using characters and punctuation. Where Kelton sets up darkly humorous tableaux of alienating IT infrastructure, Brueckner tenderly inserts the self into the language of code. The juxtaposition is disarming and achingly precise: rife with the contradictions of Silicon Valleys all over the world.