New York

View of “Laurent Grasso,” 2019.

View of “Laurent Grasso,” 2019.

Laurent Grasso

Sean Kelly Gallery

A sonic slab of rumbling bass can imbue almost anything with an aura of mystical portent. Artists know this as well as anyone, and the French Conceptualist Laurent Grasso pulled out all the stops for his 2018 video OttO to lend an awe-inspiring quality to his portrayal of sacred sites. Commissioned for the Twenty-First Biennale of Sydney—and produced in consultation with the Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation and the community of Yuendumu in Australia’s Northern Territory—OttO arrived with all the right stamps of approval. Yet it felt, if not actively exploitative, then deeply superficial. And its phantasmal soundtrack, while initially seductive, didn’t help.

The plot of OttO, which made its US debut at Sean Kelly Gallery, along with several new sculptures and paintings—some related to the film, others tangential—doesn’t amount to much, but its aesthetic is heavily suggestive of

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