Critics’ Picks

View of “The Finger that Shows the Moon Never Moons,” 2017. From left: Apichatpong Weerasethakul, The Vapor of Melancholy, 2014; Susanne Winterling, Untitled (The pressure behind your nailcolour, my dear), 2009.


“The Finger that Shows the Moon Never Moons”

Dan Gunn
Schlesische Strasse 29 Street front, 3rd Floor
April 22–June 25

Amid political turmoil, we might look to the moon to galvanize our struggle for a better present, or simply for aid in leaving it all behind. The exhibition “The Finger that Shows the Moon Never Moons” brings together eight artists along with their drives and escapisms.

The moon in question might be Renato Leotta’s Aprile, 2017, a disk covered in black volcanic sand hung just above eye level. Flat and unspectacular, the plaster plate is insufficient in representing the celestial body, but it toys with a theatrical register in its willful yet ironic invitation to suspend disbelief. A similar theme carries over in Rodrigo Hernández’s prop-like Super Position, 2016, a piece of outdated, perhaps Cold War–era technology modeled in cardboard. With childish pretense, the work insists on belonging to a parallel universe—however, even here the tarnish of history endures.

Meanwhile, in The Vapor of Melancholy, 2014, a back-lit photograph by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, play takes an existential turn. A young man lies on a bed, his hand in a dainty bend, as he breathes out a cloud of smoke in a rain of superimposed fireworks. His blissful high troubles the mood of the title, evoking the ambivalence in escaping only to inevitably return.

Susanne Winterling’s glass prints of phosphorescent algae share in this urge for the otherworldly. Crossover Planetary Algae Empire (for Octavia Butler), 2017, shows the organism lit up by a spotlight, imbuing the green-blue shape with a mesmerizing dimensionality. Dedicated to the famous science-fiction writer, Winterling’s work abandons the Anthropocene for life under different moons.