Tony Oursler

Baldwin Gallery

Visiting a show of Tony Oursler’s sculpture-based video projections is unsettling and surreal on several levels. First, disparate voices accost the viewer from multiple directions, literally calling out for attention but at the same time blurring together into a cacophonous mass of sound. Then there are the video images of usually disembodied faces or even parts of faces—just an eye or a mouth—that register as creepily real in the same way puppets can. These often pathetic figures seem eerily imprisoned, repeating the same words over and over again.

Formally, the seven sculpture-video fusions in “Vertical Loop Task” (all works 2010) come off as variations on these previous, well-established ideas. Not as assaultive as some of Oursler’s earlier works—such as Don’t Look at Me, 1994, in which a squashed dummy cries out, “Get away from me!”—the projected video monologues are riddled with anxiety

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