Critics’ Picks

Tauba Auerbach, Where there had once been a snag in the fabric (detail), 2018, borosilicate glass on cushioned physical-therapy table, metal base, vinyl covered cushion, 84 x 48 x 34".


Tauba Auerbach and Éliane Radigue

MOCA Cleveland
11400 Euclid Avenue
February 16–June 10, 2018

Resting upon an electric-blue acupuncture table, a pristine sculpture of interwoven glass tubes spiders out from a spine, like a chemistry set touched with the intricate order of an organic molecule (Where there had once been a snag in the fabric, 2018). Two gateway-like panels frame this altar of sorts, each consisting of two austere paintings from the series “Grain,” 2015–18, placed back-to-back and encased in a metal border. Hanging projector screens show a chemical dance: refracting wave patterns of light and viscous spheres bouncing off viscous surfaces, an undulating movement of depression and liftoff. A surreal sound installation (OMNHT, 1970) by the electronic composer Éliane Radigue consists of angular blue benches that lean against two far walls, where they emit a low ambient drone that imbues the space with liminal indeterminacy. The mood evoked by this uncanny vibration is one of inextricable calm and anxiety; visitors find themselves lingering between the everyday world and some preternatural chamber. Is this Cleveland, or the abyss of space?

Tauba Auerbach is known for exploring a network of overlapping scientific and mathematical theories in her work, from four-dimensional geometry to quantum consciousness. This show, titled “INDUCTION,” continues the trajectory, playing on the intersections of conceptual art and abstraction to pose questions across multiple fields. Rather than resolve metaphysical or scientific paradoxes, the works consider the way we test the limits of perception and experience, or what Auerbach calls the “2.5th dimension.” The helix, a leitmotif across these works, stages the Eastern mystical idea that there is a fundamental connection between living nature and the fabric of the cosmos. The sublime power of “INDUCTION” stems from Auerbach’s capacity to weave complex subject matter in a delicate form while pushing our representational and sensorial capacities to their outward limits.