Critics’ Picks

Victoria Fu, Double Curtain 1, 2017, dye sublimation print on silk, 17' 1“ x 8' 4”.

New York

Victoria Fu

Simon Preston
301 Broome Street
September 10–October 15

The California-based artist Victoria Fu appropriates the tactics of illusion used within theater, film, and digital media. Double Curtain 1 (all works 2017), a dramatic piece near the entrance to her exhibition, is coldly spotlit on one side by a digital projector. Printed images on the work’s two diaphanous curtains—hanging back-to-back from a rod suspended from the ceiling—appear to match. But the front-facing curtain, its imagery originally filmed on 16-mm and then digitized, depicts a still from an abstract screen saver full of colorful paint daubs floating against a heavily pixelated backdrop. The second curtain shows what a CGI-animation program predicts the back of the other surface looks like.

Her meditations on artistic trickery are everywhere: Shadow, another digital projection, loops every few minutes behind Double Curtain 1. It reveals the artist in silhouette and a moment when her computer mouse pops into view. Télévoix 1, a video on a flat-screen monitor, mixes analog and digital processes in a mesmerizing mash-up. The video opens with grainy film footage of Fu’s desktop computer, paired with vaguely obscene squishing sounds offscreen. A male voice intones, “This is how I normally mix paint.” We see paper confetti raining down against a grid of pixels; stock footage of milk and cereal splashing into a bowl with liquid sounds played at a torrential volume; and a hand swooping past a dripping, gel-like substance to adjust the glass screen itself. What could be a purely ironic take on the romanticized artistic process is instead an expressive play of texture and surface, with a wink to the pornographic seductiveness of digital effects and, of course, our need to be seduced.