new-york

Mathis Altmann, Histoire de la merde, 2016, wood, miniatures, lightbulb, cloth, plastic, metal, paper, 34 3/4 × 11 1/2 × 8 1/2".

Mathis Altmann

Swiss Institute / CONTEMPORARY ART

Mathis Altmann, Histoire de la merde, 2016, wood, miniatures, lightbulb, cloth, plastic, metal, paper, 34 3/4 × 11 1/2 × 8 1/2".

I had seen a few of Mathis Altmann’s works online—spooky things hanging in darkened rooms, made out of lots of junk and schmutz, nothing if not weird—so I went to the Swiss Institute prepared to see some grody riff on Halloween aesthetics by an artist in Zurich who had gone deep inside his head. (As the art world gets ever more globalized, meshing more and more with corporate culture, a surprising number of artists are responding by plumbing the depths of “interiority.”) Lined up in the basement gallery were eight little models of architectural spaces, more or less hung at eye level; a big brown sofa was propped up against the opposite wall, coated with epoxy resin and covered in mealworms—weird, but also somehow neat—which had the effect of turning the gallery into a kind of model itself.

Most of the works offered cutaway views of some sort of room and a gunky

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