Critics’ Picks

Yngve Holen and Aedrhlsomrs Othryutupt Lauecehrofn, 13 7E 2C 35 D7 16 32 9A FB 07 27 12 E1 B5 2D 16 7F 19 8D 69 D8 E8 8A 18 A3 97 7A 57 7B 14 4C 8D 0E FE 39 92 1E E1 3A 66 8A E1 1E D4 5E 2A 35 13 21 5F 20 BE 2A BD A6 9B EB 39 BA 67 AA BA E8 F6, 2016, SLS prints, sound, sixteen parts, each 8 x 4 x 4".


Yngve Holen

Kunsthalle Basel
Steinenberg 7
May 13–August 14

No matter where the German-Norwegian sculptor Yngve Holen’s works have been seen in recent years, they always focus on the pressure exerted by high-tech machines on a curiously absent human body. Even this solo exhibition “VerticalSeat”––named for the notion of a cheap airline offering only standing seats in order to squeeze more passengers onto a plane––demonstrates once again how technology looks back at its creator. Factory-fresh headlights for buses or motor scooters turn into a series of four works titled “Hater Headlight” (all works 2016), hateful-looking techno-fetish items placed as isolated components on the walls. Holen also takes handblown glass and cuts it into the shape of airplane windows for the series “Window Seat,” whose optical designs are reminiscent of the Nazar amulet, which is supposed to ward off the evil eye. Four frontal views of CT scanners, used by doctors to look inside the body, can also be found in the exhibition and are painted the bright ivory of German taxis, turning our gaze to the body in transit.

Compared with Holen’s earlier shows, what is striking here is that the artist’s material language has become noticeably more concise, distinguishing his practice through a few well-targeted interventions with corporate ready-mades. The biggest development, however, is most certainly the manifestation of bodies for an installation created in collaboration with the musician Aedrhlsomrs Othryutupt Lauecehrofn. Eerie sounds—labeled as recordings of individual vowels made by MRT scans and 3-D printers—rise from sixteen busts, which are fragments of SLS-printed faces and the glottises of both artists. This strange droning produced by a technological incursion into the interior of the body leaves the greatest impression, which is saying something, given that Cake, a Porsche Panamera sawed into four clean pieces, also makes an appearance here.

Translated from German by Diana Reese.