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View of “Revital Cohen & Tuur Van Balen,” 2015. From left: Sensei Ichi-gō, 2014; Sterile, 2014.

Revital Cohen & Tuur van Balen

Schering Stiftung

View of “Revital Cohen & Tuur Van Balen,” 2015. From left: Sensei Ichi-gō, 2014; Sterile, 2014.

A few months before I left New York, someone gave me a goldfish he had won at a funfair, thinking that having a pet would help me feel more rooted in the Big Apple. I left my tiny Brooklyn apartment shortly after, but not without learning that goldfish, too, can suffer from loneliness and stress and are ill-suited to living in small bowls. I was reminded of this episode at the opening of “assemble | standard | minimal” by London-based duo Revital Cohen & Tuur Van Balen, where the first thing viewers encountered were three solitary goldfish in small, barren aquariums in a work titled Sterile, 2014. They had been bred, the press release informed us, by Professor Etsuro Yamaha in Hokkaido, Japan; nearby was Sensei Ichi-gō, 2014, an ostensibly “dormant” machine for producing sterile goldfish from previously extracted eggs and sperm, with a clinically white conveyor belt leading from

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