Critics’ Picks

Sylvie Fleury, Aura Portrait, 2003.

Sylvie Fleury, Aura Portrait, 2003.


“What Did You Expect?”

Jan Mot
Petit Sablon / Kleine Zavel 10
March 11–April 28, 2004

“Dear Jan and Jonathan, looking forward to the show. When is the opening? I’d like to try and come,” reads a fax from Douglas Gordon that is now kicking around the gallery in a clear plastic folder. This un-contribution makes a nice punch line for the exhibition “What Did You Expect?” Taking its title from a work by Robert Barry—Don’t Expect Anything, 1999—the show explores the frustrations of perception. To that end the gallerists have rounded up mean tricks like Dave Allen’s sound piece For the Dogs. Satie’s “Veritables Preludes Flasques” (pour un chien)” rendered at tone frequencies above 18 Khz, 2002: Unless you happen to be a dog (and no pets are allowed in the gallery), you won’t hear a thing. Jonathan Monk’s The Silent Tornado (For Jack Goldstein), 2003, a silent film of an antique turntable, also leaves viewers straining to hear inaudible music. Some of the works play off one another other in a way that allows viewers to subvert the artists' own expectations. Installed in front of Rodney Graham’s black-and-white photograph of an inverted tree are Carsten Höller’s Upside Down Glasses, 2001. Put them on, and suddenly Graham’s tree is right-side up again. 

Translated from German by Emily Speers Mears.