New York

Susan Heinemann

Artists Space

The major configuration in Susan Heinemann’s installation is a chevron formed by doubled black footprints made with charcoal and running from the comers of the room to a point somewhere in the center. If the prints signified many people standing abreast, they’d have formed a flying wedge. But it looks more as if the footprints were made by hopping. There’s a series of chicken wire cylinders, starting in one corner of the room and descending in height, each of which encloses a pair of prints. The first is about five feet high, about human stature. The others are folded back like potato sacks, becoming shorter as they move toward the triangle’s apex. After the sixth, Heinemann switches to outlining the prints in white chalk.

There’s a tendency these days to determine a work by body size, so the sculpture takes the measure of its maker. To read diminishing stature into the diminishing height of the cylinders could make this piece a schematic allusion to a disappearing act. No more chicken wire, no more stature. Then it’s into chalk, like a ghost or a shadow, a compressed dimension of self. They are both enclosures. One is 3-D as if there were some invisible mobile agent to contain. The other’s 2-D, the footprints become depictions, things to be circled like islands on a map. On the back wall are several handprints that complete the chevron of footprints as a triangle in the sense of denoting a completed motion that describes that figure. But maybe the handprints were made from behind the wall. Are there doors there? This is a zippy ensemble, an engaging circuit of described motions that reflects Heinemann’s growing involvement with dance. The performance (a private one) happened in the past, but the leavings gain a presence by her recourse to art devices like the venerable stability of the isoceles triangle, the graphic effect of chalk on the floor, and a conflation of Minimal series sculpture (the cylinders look a lot like Eva Hesse’s) with some idea of movement.

Alan Moore