K.E.’s current exhibition continues her investigation into two different topics: the body as an agent and receptor in a technologically and physically mediated landscape; and the often absurd nature of the creative act.
For K.E., these issues are intimately related, and with Crossing Gibraltar at Midday she arranges new wall pieces, several free standing sculptures, and a video in order to explore what might be a called a Blade Runner-esque urban space and a near-future rendering of the body as an avatar. In each work, K.E. is somehow present. Her body and subjectivity function as a cipher, and it is through her, both literally and metaphorically, that an image of what it means to navigate and intervene within a techno-inflected terrain becomes viscerally understood.
Hung on the walls are several new pieces from the series Intangible Economies of Desire, which K.E. began in 2016. Each work contains an isolated and decontextualized image of a hand, or elbow, or foot—points of bodily conjunction—formed in a 3D animation program, and rendered at ultra-high resolution. The results are unsettlingly familiar, and have also been subtly augmented by K.E., as she inserts and blends drawn elements into the composition. The otherworldly quality of the representations is enhanced by the depiction of a beam of light shooting out of the body part, which only intensifies the cyborg associations. K.E. has situated the images within a sculpture-frame — a construction partially made of wood that also incorporates a transparent jalousie. The translucent barrier emphasizes porousness and luminosity, especially because of the embedded LED strips that create a dissociative glow. In these works, the body has become a detached technology, perfectly functional yet fetishized. Subjectivity, in this instance, rapidly approaches the inhuman.
Interspersed throughout the space are several formidable but elegantly restrained sculptures that play with the shape of three dimensional coordinate systems. The objects are oddly anthropomorphic, while also invoking thoughts of abstracted street lamps. Each piece confronts the viewer corporeally, and the intimacy of the encounter is furthered by the works’ alluring audio component: K.E. whispering Dada-like mantras that came to her from past engagements with the built environment. These delightfully absurd expressions have also found form in small engraved wall pieces that function as visual punctuations and transitions between the sculptures and the large wall pieces. K.E. has filled the impressed letters with a thin layer of marzipan, a sweet buffer loaded with sensual associations that alter how the words are seen. Hidden from these works, in a specially built corridor, is a video from 2012 entitled God Created the World and I did the Rest. In many ways, the video sets the mood for the show. It focuses on K.E. and her body, in her studio and amongst her art. The piece is mordant, even, to a degree, abject. It touches upon issues regarding the representation of the body, one’s subjectivity, and the looming responsibility of the creative act. The energy of the work is strange, but it is nonetheless weirdly appropriate for the current moment.