Mika Rottenberg’s latest work Squeeze continues the artist’s inquiry into the mechanisms by which value is generated, considering the logistics of global outsourcing and the alchemy of art production. Through movie magic portals Rottenberg links video of her Harlem studio stage set to on-location footage of an iceberg lettuce farm in Arizona and a rubber plant in Kerala, India. This composite factory toils ceaselessly to create a single precious object, one small sculpture. The video is presented in a custom-made theater. The sculpture is inaccessible– preserved offshore, out of reach for public or private viewing.
Squeeze is an architectural portrait of crisscrossing assembly lines: a multidirectional labyrinth that spins energy within a closed circuit. The central protagonist—the product around which all the work takes place—is only revealed through its raw ingredients. In the continuous video loop, the manufacturing process is never completed, remaining in constant flux. The video narrates a step-by-step choreography of rooms and mechanisms, bodies and landscapes. Laboring hands, feet, tongues and buttocks requiring pampering and maintenance.
Interior spaces are penetrated by the eruptions of “foreign elements” from the exterior. As these various components of the factory “make effort” they also seem to move purely for the sake of motion. Squeeze was shot by Mahyad Tousi, Set engineering and special effects by Katrin Altekamp and Quentin Conybeare; acoustic consultation by Steve Hamilton; production by Andrew Fierberg. Mika Rottenberg was born in Buenos Aires in 1976, and holds a BFA from the School of Visual Arts (2000) and an MFA from Columbia University (2004). She lives and works in New York.
[Photo: Art knowledge news]
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Rachel Lee Hovnanian, Leila Heller Gallery, September 2014
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