It All Trembles – Bat-Ami Rivlin Solo installation, NARS Foundation, Brooklyn NY May 2019 Curated by Nicole Kaack
From It All Trembles Press Release by Nicole Kaack:
“From the corner I see the chair crack down its back. A rip in the fabric. It splits. And the chair screams.”
In her poem A Hundred Thousand Hours, the Norwegian writer Gro Dahle needles a web of human desire and disappointment doubled in the discrete day-to-day of the home itself—a narrative of coupling and rupture that finds its parallel in the sculptural work of Bat-Ami Rivlin. The landscape of Rivlin’s work recalls a scene particular to city streets, littered by the abandoned carcasses of interiors inverted. Divorced from their original contexts, these objects become symbols for their human complements; Rivlin carries the correspondence further, using these empathetic frameworks to suggest violent, sensual encounters. The skeletons of household furnishings burlesque the gestures and poses of living flesh. Suggesting an animacy to the complaisant utility of these lifeless articles—modeled as they are to accommodate our shapes—Rivlin describes the mutual desire and emulation of object and anatomy. Upending expectations of material, Rivlin’s work is active with symbolic inter-penetrations of the body and its object counterparts. Purposefully suspending satisfaction into perpetuity, Rivlin strikes a rhythmic repetition that parallels both the capitalistic drive towards possession and a falsely gratuitous simulation of pleasure, troubling consumption as the point of convergence between violence and desire. Featuring a new body of Rivlin’s work, It All Trembles is a study in the tenderness of constraint. Swallowed in the abundance of protective armatures, Untitled (DUCT TAPE, LED, CORD, BALLAST), 2019 and Untitled (FENCE, FOAM, SPRINGS, LED, BALLAST, CORD, POLYFIL), 2018, dominate the central area of the gallery. Untitled (DUCT TAPE, LED, CORD, BALLAST) is purposefully precarious; the lighted ring of the LED is obscured and mercilessly lashed down by meaty layers of duct tape, as though trying to fix the light as it threatens to cede away. Vulnerable in the expanse of the gallery floor, the dull glow of the raw bulb and the warning tail of the extension cord offer only subtle cues of the object’s presence, both defenseless and threatening to the tread of uncareful feet. The predicament of this work is directly countered in Untitled (FENCE, FOAM, SPRINGS, LED, BALLAST, CORD, POLYFIL), 2018, where the plush embrace of foam and metal frame covetously sequesters the stark gloam of fluorescent light. A second LED is suspended on the bare wire of four metal springs at the center of this encircling armature, which is uncertainly fortification or cage. Charting an arc in the jaundiced disintegration of oxidizing foam, the tacky residue of torn-up tape, Rivlin suggests the likeness of bodies and objects which share twinned lives of desire, degradation, and decay.