Still from Beny Wagner’s Invisible Measure, 2013, HD video, color, sound, 36 minutes 15 seconds.

WE SPEND A LOT OF TIME looking through transparent surfaces—windows, screens—but far less time looking at them. After all, such objects are typically taken for granted; their ideal condition is a form of invisibility. And yet despite—or perhaps because of—this elusiveness, transparency has acquired a powerful symbolism, imbued with the moral values of openness, truth, and purity. Berlin-based artist Beny Wagner peers into just these paradoxes of transparency, particularly its complex and shifting interchanges between material and metaphor. In video, sculpture, sound, text, and performance, Wagner posits connections between the solid and the limpid, between hard stuff and immaterial ideology.

The first results of this investigation were on view at an exhibition of Wagner’s new work this past fall at Import Projects in Berlin. Here, the video Invisible Measure,

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