new-york

Rachel bas-Cohain

A.I.R. Gallery

“Let us inquire, to what end is nature?” Not only might Rachel bas-Cohain (1937–1982) have put Ralph Waldo Emerson’s question to herself, but she must have shared Emerson’s conception of the fluid character of nature, of energy, their binding unity the confluence of forces. Hence her continuance of the kinetic tradition, particularly that part of the tradition less concerned with the machine than with the phenomena it generates. Liliane Lijn’s Liquid Reflections, 1966–67, in which drops of moisture trapped under a clear turntable move in apparently inexplicable ways, is not so different from bas-Cohain’s bubbles rising mysteriously in a cylinder (Saucer Bubble Gently Rising, 1970), or from the appearing and disappearing whirlpools of Study No.1 for Grand Vortices, 1971. The subject matter in both cases is an energy and movement almost weightless, bodiless, intangible.

Like Emerson, bas-Cohain

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the May 1985 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.