Critics’ Picks

Barbara Knezevic, Exquisite tempo sector (detail), 2016, mixed media, dimensions variable.

Barbara Knezevic, Exquisite tempo sector (detail), 2016, mixed media, dimensions variable.


Barbara Knezevic

Temple Bar Gallery + Studios
5-9 Temple Bar
November 25, 2016–January 28, 2017

Three tall Perspex plinths are filled to varying heights with dark earth, from which grow robust green fronds of Monstera deliciosa, also known as the hurricane plant. They are like columns, punctuating sites of action or defining the edges of a film set. With them are a number of low, gray daises, and clusters of other objects, their import ambiguous.

With Exquisite tempo sector, 2016, Barbara Knezevic has created an environment in which nature and culture sit in delicate balance, although which is which isn’t always clear. A large photograph shows hands stretching a piece of dyed green leather, its surface also shown in close-up on an LED screen. The artificial appears natural, and the natural, strange. There are handmade terracotta pots that could be ancient but aren’t. Faint scents of oils—sandalwood, cedarwood, spikenard, vetiver—hang on the air.

In less confident hands, this seemingly random assemblage could be cluttered and chaotic, but Knezevic has a tactful eye for placement. In the same vein as Caoimhe Kilfeather, her objects invite speculation and charge the space. The plants, in their slow cycle of growth and decay, are placed alongside candles, molded to resemble their irregular alabaster stands. In this persuasive meditation on the nature of time, everything is gently changing: from the observable to the infinitesimal. The elements of the artist’s installation are so carefully placed that your own presence is disrupted, making you another temporary artifact as time becomes elastic around you.