Critics’ Picks

View of the “The Time Machine (The Survivors),” 2013.

View of the “The Time Machine (The Survivors),” 2013.


“The Time Machine (The Survivors)”

Frutta | Rome
Via dei Salumi, 53
January 21, 2013–January 4, 2014

Imagining the future by thinking of the past is the common denominator uniting the thirteen artists in “The Time Machine (The Survivors),” curated by Rome-based CURA, a magazine, publishing house, and exhibition space. Their interpretations of the future have the feeling of archeological recycling, which is achieved by drawing upon an iconographic and iconological repertoire that is broadly historicized and then translated through the most advanced technological systems. As a title, “Time Machine” acts as a framing device, symbolically representing the means needed to create the selected works. Though marked by considerably varied linguistic expressions, these artworks do share a common orientation.

Take Andrea Kvas’s deconstructed painting Untitled, 2013, Torben Ribe’s two-dimensional painting Untitled (No Signal), 2012, and Nicolas Deshayes’s tactile impasto Flints in Gluten, 2013, all of which evoke the syntax of art informel. In contrast, Mark Barrow’s geometric surfaces in HNO, 2013, suggest the syntax of abstraction. A Dada echo reverberates in Billy Rennekamp’s neo-Pop three-dimensional assemblage Houston in the Blind, 2013, as well as in Jimmy Limit’s neo-Minimal works. The influence of the absurd can also be seen in the two environmental installations on view: Margaret Lee’s Chaise, Table with Fruit and Pillow and David Douard’s Glory Hole, both works 2013.

A revival of neo-Conceptual processes is evident in Gundam Air’s virtual project There is Something You Will Like to Know About, 2012, and in the enumerative, bibliographic ongoing work The Infinite Library that Haris Epaminonda and Daniel Gustav Cramer began in 2007. See also Timur Si-Qin’s museum-like, ethnographic project, TM1517 (ParanthropusRobustus): Dressed in Pool Water, 2013. Finally, there are two video and sound installations: Ian Cheng’s Entropy Wrangler Siluria, 2012–13 and Letter & Spirit, 2013, by the Dexter Sinister collective (David Reinfurt and Stuart Bailey). Both symbolically recall the concept summarized by the name of the show through using dated technological systems, as each includes texts, images, and sounds belonging to various traditions. It is precisely these past movements that act as the real time machine, pushing the contemporary into the past.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.