new-york

Suzan Etkin

Kasmin Gallery | 27th Street

Suzan Etkin’s work seems divided against itself: though her concerns merit a certain clarity, enigma is pursued with such anxiety that in the end it is somewhat starved of meaning. Etkin has said that she hopes to achieve “a continuing provocation, an ongoing question,” in her work, citing Marcel Duchamp as a fundamental influence.

Of the five pieces in this show, the most compelling was Fourth Position (all works 1993), a steel spiral staircase that revolved smoothly backward to a dull hum, evoking the silent descent of an invisible nude. This ghostly presence was echoed by what seemed to be pieces of a body—or of a shattered statue—that were arranged like archaeological finds on round, gray-swathed tables placed in the same room. Entitled Suitor’s Reflection, these remnants were fragile, drained, asexual. The “suitor”—the male instead of the female—has been trapped, fragmented, put on

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