Critics’ Picks

View of “Wanton Mobility,” 2014.

View of “Wanton Mobility,” 2014.


“Wanton Mobility”

Prinzessinnenstr. 29
June 26–August 9, 2014

In this Anthropocene age marked by discoveries of “plastiglomerates”—composites of molten plastic trapped in Arctic ice, rock formations, or floating in the oceans like islands of toxic goo—a young generation of artists is renegotiating materials as systems of synthesis, linking organic and inorganic processes to nature and the human body. Featuring works by Lisa Williamson, Molly Smith, Fiona Mackay, Keltie Ferris, and Alisa Baremboym, this all-female show considers the discord between the effects of networked experience and advances in technological innovation.

Two sculptures by Smith, Rot and Peel, both 2012, evoke decomposing metal debris, like the stuff that kept turning up on satellite images of the area where Malaysian flight MH370 had disappeared. Smith blends paper, abaca fiber, and cotton into malleable matter, which she forms onto found metal or wire mesh. Three matching canvases in cheerful colors by Mackay—Wipe Out, Tanned Lines, and Paul, all 2013—become, in this context, anguished remarks on summer tourism.

Baremboym’s Lox Luggage, 2012, is a suitcase cloaked in salmon-colored cotton and shrink-wrapped. The work is emblematic of the artist’s preoccupation with the abstracted body as well as of the sensibility shared by her peers that embraces the irony of the sleekness of the industrially produced. For example, depending on the viewer’s position relative to the work, Starfish, 2014, by Ferris, can look like pixelated graffiti or an oil painting representing bioenergy. On the opposite wall, an oil-and-pigment imprint of the artist’s body, Filet, 2013–14, is a refreshingly candid gesture.