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Zimoun is a Swiss sound and kinetic artist whose installations incorporate hundreds of everyday objects and simple movements to create a foreign experience for the viewer. He asks questions like, “What are the aesthetic and tonal qualities of cardboard in motion?” Traveling recently to see Volume, his first solo show in New York, I was oddly excited to find out.
The entrance to the gallery was blocked almost entirely by stacked cardboard boxes, a sight typical of some of Zimoun’s largest installations. Filled with the anticipation of an immersive sound experience, I entered the gallery and was quickly confronted by … silence? Feeling put on, I asked, “Aren’t these supposed to make noise?” As if in response, a sensor was triggered by my impatient movements and the entire space sprang to life.
The effect was dramatic. The motion sensor caught me by surprise, and the sound of 294 cork balls bouncing chaotically against cardboard boxes enveloped me. The whole room vibrated with motion and noise. I was reminded of Tara Donovan’s ability to take a material we have long ignored and make it new again. I kept wanting to find patterns or rhythms in the motion but couldn’t; it was at once playful while bordering on overwhelming.
After taking some photographs and exploring the installation inside and out, I moved upstairs to Bitforms’ project room, where the exhibition continued. The room contains two sculptures and two installations. Zimoun’s installations vary in size based on the architecture of the space, and although these works were much smaller than the ones downstairs, they retained their quality — a rare phenomenon among installation artists. The two sculptures are square grids with each point undulating as a result of an embedded motor. Starting with a clear structure, the kinetic works contrast order and chaos using mundane materials that surprise. They are a playful break from the formality and reductive materiality of high modernism, and they’re even reminiscent of work by Argentinean kinetic artist Julio Le Parc.
The installation in the project room that excited me the most was “50 prepared dc-motors, filler wire 1.00mm” (2009), which consists of dangling wires spinning to create a subtle noise. The piece has similar kinetic and sound qualities as the others, but with an extra layer: the ends of the dangling wires rub against the gallery wall, creating little scuff marks in the process, which generate a wall drawing near the base of the work. The result looks like an accidental Sol LeWitt, who is known for his conceptual wall drawings.
Although my desire to see Zimoun’s immense installation initially drew me to the show, the curious drawing sculpture is what will bring me back for a second viewing.
Zimoun’s Volume continues at Bitforms Gallery (529 West 20th Street, Chelsea, Manhattan) until March 10.
“Black infants in America are now more than twice as likely to die as white infants—11.3 per 1,000 black babies, compared with 4.9 per 1,000 white babies, according to the most recent government data—a racial disparity that is actually wider than in 1850, 15 years before the end of slavery, when most black women were…
he ownership of images has a long and nuanced legal history, which has evolved dramatically in recent years as cultural standards and photographic technologies have rapidly advanced
The show, which honors the 50th anniversary of an exhibition history once ignored, continues a series of projects documenting Wilmington’s contemporary art scene.
Renty and his daughter Delia. Renty was an enslaved African, kidnapped from the Congo, sold and forced into slave labor on the South Carolina plantation of B.F. Taylor
What is the relation between possessing a person, possessing their image, and dispossessing their progeny
As a scholar of African American history and photography whose work has focused on the status of violent images in museums and archives, I fully support the validity of Ms. Tamara Lanier’s claim and the amicus brief.
Two K-12 art teachers will each receive a $1,000 cash gift and an additional $500 to put toward classroom art supplies. Nominations are due October 31.
The daguerreotypes of Renty Taylor, Delia, Drana, Alfred, Jack, George Fassena, and Jem remained in an unused storage cabinet until 1975, when it was discovered by an employee of the Peabody Museum.
I am writing in support of the amicus curiae brief submitted by Professor Ariella Aïsha Azoulay of Brown University for the full restitution of the daguerreotypes of Renty Taylor and his daughter Delia, currently held by Harvard University, to their familial descendant, Tamara Lanier.
We cannot be indifferent to the long-lasting effects of photography. The photographs at the center of Lanier v. Harvard are relentless in making Renty and Delia Taylor work and perform as slaves. The pain inflicted on them has not ceased. Photography has the capacity to propagate harm, and we have the moral obligation to interrupt…