Monday, September 15, 2008


at the Mattress Factory
April 25, 2008 – January 11, 2009

Desire for a dialogue with the history of Pittsburgh, the architecture of the Mattress Factory’s main building, and the James Turrell and Yayoi Kusama installations on permanent view prompted New York–based curator Dara Meyers-Kingsley to bring together nine artists under the titular theme. Spatial and psychological issues mark much of today’s art, yet this show constitutes a fresh approach to the subject, as the selected works address their environment in an intellectually and sensorially challenging manner.


Sarah Oppenheimer’s 610-3356 (all works 2008) consists of an aperture that intersects both the floor and the window of two small rooms on different stories of the edifice, allowing new views into the street. The work’s title references a system the artist devised to classify the materials used in her works. Optical questions also define Mary Temple’s Transparent Brick Wall for Kusama: a wall painting, done in the artist’s signature style, that features a subtle silhouette of a tree, as if its shadow were cast through a nearby window. Daniel Canogar’s Midnight Plumber I and Midnight Plumber II add bodily forms to the trompe l’oeil effect: In two adjacent, darkened rooms, Canogar presents a complex net of fiber-optic cables and projected slides of different humanlike figures in a state of suspended animation.

In Instant Before Incident (Marinetti’s Drive 1908), Luca Buvoli references the famous car crash caused by Futurism founder Filippo Marinetti by stringing, from floor to ceiling and through a window, a long chain of replicas of the early-twentieth-century Fiat driven by the Italian poet. By intertwining traditions of culture and economy in Italy and the US, Buvoli explores the heroic mythologies of national identity. Sensitively mixing physical and mental interpretations of the exhibition’s organizing principle, the nine artists push the boundaries of established notions such as space and perception, breaking ground for new trends in the relationship between art and the built world.

(reviewed by Miguel Amado for ArtForum)


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