Rey Akdogan: Crash Rail

 

The spare installation of Rey Akdoban’s latest exhibition at Miguel Abreu recalls the expressions of a figure turned tight-lipped and withdrawn, not giving anything away. Most of the generously sized rooms of the gallery have only a few single or closely paralleled horizontal bands of aluminum, given anonymous, commercial paint-chip- like names (RAL 7021, RAL 9005, RAL 5012), hung low to the ground and covered in various high-gloss powder finishes of black, white, red, and blue, with the occasional surfacing of an orange or aqua accent, hidden in the back rooms. The only visual intervention of this almost-continuous circumferential line is a vertical strip of translucent panels hanging from the ceiling—plastic panels, as if they were borrowed from the exit of a car wash.

A windowless side room contains the only animated component of the show: the shaded room is dark enough to accommodate a looping video projection on the wall. The rattle of the projector, echoes bouncing off of aluminum folding chairs, accompanies the graphic abstractions rotating in the 13-minute- long Carousel #8 (all works 2015): red and white stripes, overlaid angular lines in wood tones, and more horizontal bands of color—here, a crinkled cerulean one—shuffled with images of wavering lines, seemingly drawn by a very nervous hand. The slides are drawn in the same medium as the other works—lighting gels and colored tape stretched over slide frames.

A crash rail is designed to go unnoticed, an architectural detail that will only announce its presence when something goes wrong, off the rails. That such materials, slick industrial-grade architectural components usually relegated to the very margins of a room or frame, are pretty much all that is on display here suggests that the action, and the subject matter, lies in what moves between these elements—everyone, and everything, whether sunlight or tension—that passes through the starkly appointed rooms and hallways.

Flash Art Issue 303, July–September 2015

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