Artist: Shahryar Nashat
Venue: Swiss Institute, New York
Date: March 20 – June 2, 2019
Full gallery of images, press release, and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of Swiss Institute, New York
Swiss Institute presents Shahryar Nashat’s first institutional exhibition in New York. Entirely comprised of new commissions, the exhibition features a moving image work and a number of sculptures.
The visual temperature of Swiss Institute has been altered. Keep Begging plays on an LED wall. The moving image is tightly focused on the region between the desert of the elbow and the snug of an armpit. And yet, the work has an operatic range, moving through periods of depressed stasis and into ecstasies of facility and movement. This narrowly defined area of a body is curiously scanned, appraised, analyzed, and as this happens, categories suggest themselves. This body is most abstract when it appears most utilitarian – virtuosic, weaponized, animal.
“Do we go to war?”
Sculptures have had their intrinsic values exposed, revealing their inconsistency. Start To Beg is a seven-foot-long object, which bears marks of bites and scratches, breaks and bruises. Others are bandaged, wrapped or require something of you. A series of raw meat sculptures – Bone In – are dressed with pick-up lines:
“This could be us, but you’re playin.”
In fact, Nashat’s exhibition includes a number of things that could be us, might be us. Corporeal details across various media encourage questions about how far bodies and minds can be distilled into abstraction: how far can they be bent into the shapes of other things before they break? Do only the shapeshifters survive?