“Transitions” at NeueHouse by La Pera Projects, NYC (Review)

“Transitions” at NeueHouse by La Pera Projects, installation view, New York City.

“Transitions” at NeueHouse by La Pera Projects

March 20 – April 16, 2021

What is a transition in the early 21st century, a time filled with change, much of it beyond control? La Pera Projects and Edoardo Cozzani, the Italian artist who co-curated the interesting exhibition “Transitions,” seem to see it as an alteration or movement in thought or work or physical location. The four artists in this show, which includes Cozzani himself, Jean Oh (American), Johanna Strobel (German), and Kyoko Hamaguchi (Japanese), address transitions in ways that reflect social practice and visual tropes moving away from tradition. Given a culture increasingly worldwide–as the backgrounds of these four artists demonstrate–it becomes important that the art we see in this show communicates both the attractions and dangers of an international presentation of art.

Jean Oh, I am Listening, 2021, acrylic and graphite on sewn canvas, 30 x 40 in
Edoardo Cozzani, Rapporto orizzontale (I), 2021, cement, sand, burnt umber, metal wire, aluminum foil, 29 x 53 x 28 in

None of the work can be directly tied to a particular nation or geography. It is thus generic, but that does not mean it lacks the specificity of purpose. Cozzani’s photographic images are of variously shaped objects covered with silver foil, photographed in striking landscape. The transition, or perhaps the contrast between the manmade and the beauty of its surroundings, might be considered a failed transition, in which the humanly constructed exists at a distance from the naturally found. In contrast, one might speak of the physical transition from one sculptural shape to the next in Cozzani’s photos.  Jean Oh’s light-colored mixtures of cloth, sewn together and decorated with graphite and acrylic, result from a determined effort to forcibly join different pieces of material–a transition between parts that, in a way, moves from connected individual elements to a decorated totality. Here the transition is physical rather than brought forth entirely within the imagination, which can happen in conceptual art. Cozzani and Oh’s work actually suggests an interpretation slightly different from the implications of the show’s title–namely, that transitions don’t always work or exist in such different realms as to demand and enforce change.

Kyoko Hamaguchi, Plan, 2021 Roomba (autonomous robotic vacuum cleaner), wood, magnets, approx.100 paper clips NFS

Hamaguchi, the Japanese artist now working in New York, offers two works: Roomba (2021), a low wooden box about the size of an ottoman, which has small pieces of white plastic moving in response to the forced air of a vacuum hidden within the box; and I’m (Not) at Home (2021), a flat, two-part work on the wall, in which the upper half announces “I am at home,” and the lower shows an idyllic picture of a field with trees and flowers. These joint images brought together in one piece could be a recognition of her status as a visitor to America–surely a major transition from Japan! As for the box, it shows the pieces of plastic quite literally in transition–but to where? They travel aimlessly across the flat top of the wooden construction, generating a sense of movement without purpose.  Strobel, the German artist, is showing clocks, some of them with natural backgrounds. Usually, there is something eccentric about them: two placed together might mirror each other’s time; another has three hands. Transition, in a geographic sense and also a metaphysical one, can be measured by time, which tracks distinctions not always easily available.

Johanna Strobel, Time Windows 1, 2, 3, 2021 Oil on wood, microcontroller, minimotors, clockwork, acrylic mirror 1 and 3: 10 x 10 x 2 in 2: 12 x 8 x 8 in

Looking over the show, viewers are met with very different sets of work, which nonetheless encourage their audience to contemplate change.  Time is the measure of transition, and sometimes space. Each artist is looking for a way to describe and calculate the impact of the transitions they and we face. Here the results are clear: we need visual tools to record differences. The curatorial choice of artists delivers these tools extremely well.

 

-Jonathan Goodman

 

La Pera Projects is a new art club – the first mobile art collecting platform that provides and curates world-class art every two weeks. Co-founded by Clara Andrade Pereira and Blanca Pascual Baztán, their unique, fresh approach makes collecting simple and easy by giving art collectors access to gallery-level work priced under $600. Membership is free and provides access to an exclusive Collectors Circle via WhatsApp or their website. By democratizing art, members receive curated artwork every fortnight directly to their phones. The platform is accessible in both English and Spanish and is the first of its kind available in both languages.

To join La Pera Projects visit: https://www.laperaprojects.art

 

Jonathan Goodman

Jonathan Goodman

Jonathan Goodman is an art writer based in New York. For more than thirty years he has written about contemporary art–for such publications as Art in America, the Brooklyn Rail, Whitehot Magazine, Sculpture, and fronterad (an Internet publication based in Madrid). He currently teaches contemporary art writing and thesis essay writing at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.

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