Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Mika Rottenberg, Bowls Balls Souls Holes @ Andrea Rosen Gallery

I love Mika Rottenberg’s art. I am an unapologetic fan boy, but I forgot this was up and didn’t realize it until I ran into a friend on 22nd St. who mentioned it, so I had to turn around and head back in a light rain. I enthusiastically sat through the video, which is as good as all her videos are. Just to get to it, you have to go through a swinging wall featuring a bingo machine. The video focuses on a pretty dank bingo hall featuring a random batch of humanity, marking their cards in wonderful purple ink. It isn’t long till the person calling numbers is dropping clothespins into yet another Rottenberg-Rube Goldberg contraption ending with a man sticking the clothespins on his face until he explodes. Then there are a few, and not nearly enough, moments where we are on an ice float and then in a motel room where an odd contraption that vibrates / heats water (?) is next to the women calling numbers in bed. The video makes about as much sense as all her videos, where the visuals are compelling and involve a narrative in which one thing inevitably leads to another and to another until you get an odd result. You can say there is some critique about mass production in the work, but as awesome as the videos are, I do feel that they are getting repetitive. I wish she would engage even more of the outside world with her process, as she did in Performa with her video involving a desert landscape and indigenous people, or her last video Squeeze where she included people in a field picking cabbage. The outside world peeks in with the ice floats and bingo parlor. I just wish there was more of it. It seems like a natural next step that might break some of the repetition in the work.

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