Swiss Engineering

The system devised to project Yves Netzhammer’s video installation Furniture of Proportions is an elegant work of art in its own right. It looks like a giant’s flashlight, black and streamlined, but modified to throw images onto three walls instead of one. Fortunately, Netzhammer’s otherworldly computer animations are intriguing enough to sway our attention from the massive machinery. The eerie, pensive work consists of a parade of minimalist vignettes with a vaguely environmental theme. (The chimps and sheep behave better than the humans, but just barely.) Furniture of Proportions, with its flat palette of black, white, and gray (goosed with the occasional dash of blood or greenery) feels like serrated post-Beckett sketch comedy or, viewed through the other end of the telescope, what might be the result if Pixar’s sweet-tempered tycoons woke up with a case of existential angst. The work makes up one half of the exhibit “Room for Thought: Alexander Hahn and Yves Netzhammer.” Next door, Hahn’s Luminous Point utilizes computer technology to grant us a self-directed virtual tour of his New York City apartment and studio. Because the piece is both imaginary and documentary, however, it doesn’t feel like we’re trespassing. In “Room for Thought,” the two Swiss artists transport us to places that seem simultaneously familiar and foreign.
July 17-Oct. 5, 2008

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