New York

Rey Akdogan, Artikelgruppe (detail), 2012, ceiling fan, PVC-strip curtain, industrial halogen lights, sandblasted glass diffusers, aluminum fan blades, light with Lee 748 and Lee 238 lighting gels, dimensions variable.

Rey Akdogan, Artikelgruppe (detail), 2012, ceiling fan, PVC-strip curtain, industrial halogen lights, sandblasted glass diffusers, aluminum fan blades, light with Lee 748 and Lee 238 lighting gels, dimensions variable.

Rey Akdogan

Miguel Abreu Gallery | Orchard Street

Rey Akdogan, Artikelgruppe (detail), 2012, ceiling fan, PVC-strip curtain, industrial halogen lights, sandblasted glass diffusers, aluminum fan blades, light with Lee 748 and Lee 238 lighting gels, dimensions variable.

Who didn’t move to the Big City for the nightlife? Or at least the idea that it’s there for you if you want it? Well, prepare to be happy: Rey Akdogan’s show “night curtain” was open to the public from dusk to midnight. Accordingly, it took full advantage of an often-ignored truth of metropolitan art-viewing, one that the night hours at Palais de Tokyo in Paris have exploited to great effect for years, and that the lines out the door for the occasional late nights at New York museums demonstrate: People love to see art after the sun goes down. Doing so changes the whole texture of the viewing experience. Being able to wander into Akdogan’s exhibition after dinner, instead of having to rush in before the 6 pm end of a typical gallery’s “business hours,” made for an entirely different and in many ways preferable kind of art spectatorship, one colored more by leisure and reflection than by the workaday world of commerce and productivity.

Akdogan’s show contained various spatial nodes that explored subtle shifts in light conditions, underscoring the phenomenology of viewing objects and spaces in those twilight to midnight hours. Outside the gallery, a pink light was placed in a doorway adjacent to the gallery’s main entrance, mirroring the site of an existing yellow light flanking the other side of the entry, an intervention so understated it risked being overlooked. Indeed, viewers were likelier to notice the pink glow on the way out, after their attention to color and light had been heightened by Akdogan’s barely-there work.

Inside the gallery, a slide projector spun through a series of slides made of theater-lighting gels and semitransparent plastic packaging. These “compositions” play abstraction against real-world materiality, and ephemeralize as mere afterimage every few seconds when the carousel moves forward. Partitioning the projector from the back portion of the gallery, a screen of sepia-toned PVC vertical blinds hung from floor to ceiling—the curtain of the show’s title. The resultant “room” the curtain created was nearly empty but for a stack of sandblasted glass light diffusers resting on the floor, a discreet step light situated near an electrical outlet (like those used for visibility in darkened theaters), and a group of white aluminum fan blades that leaned against a wall and mimicked the striated form of the night curtain in abbreviated fashion. Overhead, a giant industrial fan slowly whirled, producing a slight flicker effect.

The components of Akdogan’s work incite myriad connotations—movie theaters, manufacturing spaces, supermarkets, etc.—that refer these things back to their human uses. Because the anthropocentric nature of these objects is always foregrounded, the act of seeing them becomes an experiment in narrativizing the social preconditions—a night curtain pulled aside to invite us in—that make possible the specific experiences of visual acuity they provoke.

Eva Díaz