Critics’ Picks

Werner Reiterer, The Life-Song, 2007, pencil on paper, 27 1/2 x 20 5/8".


Werner Reiterer

University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum
4202 East Fowler Avenue CAM 101
January 9–March 7

On entering Werner Reiterer’s exhibition “Raw Loop,” viewers quickly discover themselves amid an interactive sculptural field seemingly driven by a dark presence. Evoking the early video works of Vito Acconci, Come Closer to Leave, 2008, comprises a stack of public-address speakers that, once approached, broadcasts the voice of the artist speaking a seductive monologue: “Hi . . . come closer . . . don’t be scared . . . ” But as viewers do come closer, the sound track abruptly shifts to a profane rant that includes “Go away, leave me alone, suck my . . . ” among other insults, with their expletives bleeped for the US version of the piece. Also triggered by motion sensors, Raw Loop, 2008, presents a disturbingly realistic life-size human figure sitting slouched against the wall with a cloth bag over its head. As viewers near the work, the sculpture begins to emit a wheezing sound track, and the bag inflates and deflates with every breath. Life Counts Death, 2008, is a large, minimalist cube with a bass-drum pedal attached that, when stepped on, chimes the sound of a church bell. Adjacent to this work, a drawing of the sculpture, titled The Life-Song, 2007, includes text that explains: EVERY “GONG” MARKS THE BIRTH AND DEATH OF TWO MEN. Other drawings on view from Reiterer’s series “The Drawn Exhibitions,” 1997–2008, evoke the artist’s poignantly loopy universe and serve as a form of narration. In Waiting for Nihilism, 2004, a wooden stage is depicted on which footprints lead in a circle, each labeled TACK, TOCK, TACK, TOCK––aptly reflecting the comically bleak tenor of the exhibition.