Electric Forest (Bowery)
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Electric Forest (Bowery)

While driving at night down the long, unbroken roads of West Texas, flickers of eerie, amber light punctuate the darkness. A congregation of hares stand sentinel at the edges of the dusty road, their glassy eyes reflecting headlights like so many illuminated screens. At other times, they are transformed. Eyes no longer effulgent. Once-lithe bodies reduced to flattened panes by contact with a passing car.

Arranged here as a living, multi-dimensional tableau, the shapeshifting hares have joined an arsenal of iterated shapes and characters. They conjure a series of ideas and images in flux, hovering between lens and light, watcher and watched, in which information proliferates endlessly without seeking finality or resolution.

In order to exist simultaneously in these parallel states, the hares have been treated in a variety of ways. Revivified, transposed onto animated fans affixed at either end of large aluminum tubes. Simulated, to trace their arc from watchful creatures into slack, formless puddles. Finally, in their flattened form, materially rendered in the form of layered Computerized Numerical Control (CNC) carved Baltic birch. Their continual, oscillating presence forms a life cycle outside the bounds of natural selection, by which death is not the end of action but a portal into a new, abstracted geometry.

Merging the linear construct of road and roadside with the ordered variation of Judd’s cubic sculptures, the artists have built a simulated version of the Texan road as it unfurled before them, bordered by mathematically accurate iterations of every single cube in Judd’s famed series. The monochromatic simulation, entitled https://www.100untitledworksinmillaluminum.org/, makes continuous, steady progress through a pitch-black landscape, accompanied occasionally by bursts of sound as the ‘driver’ encounters a series of future-themed podcasts, broadcast from particular points along the road. Through a hole in the projection, a single crumpled beer can, almost fully cleansed of identifying marks by the elements, infinitely reflects in the mirrored box that encloses it.

Elsewhere, a slanted wooden trapdoor featuring the collapsed hare in CNC-carved form, opens to reveal footage filmed after the completion of 2017’s Late Checkout, echoing the empty feedback loop of compulsive technological connection. The camera’s gaze flits between the artists as they idly consume one another, building up a gradual, dual self-portrait that moves continuously without ever arriving. Also present is Countdown Belladonna (2016), for which the artists projected a barrage of video material directly onto their own retinas, creating yet another feedback loop that marries mind, body and screen in an endless, boundless chain.

In this flattened landscape, everything is mutable. Multiple iterations of every image and idea burgeon like seeds scattered on the wind. Finally, it is only via the act of being seen–whether happened upon whilst driving or peeked at through a chink in a temporary screen–that this potentiality becomes concretized, so that though these manifold portals and doorways, we come to a gradual understanding of the transformative potency of vision upon reality.

Electric Forest (Bowery)

  • Simone Subal Gallery's Exhibitions 8
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