Luhring Augustine Gallery is currently showing I Had A Vision, a grouping of works by Martin Kippenberger. Together forming a kitschy carnival of mixed media installation and wall pieces, the works selected were earlier exhibited in various exhibitions dating to the early 1990s. The title of the exhibition is pulled from the catalogue accompanying Kippenberger’s 1991 show at SF MoMA. The “vision” in question is apparent in the gallery presentation, as Kippenberger consistently reappropriates objects and re-envisions their utilitarian intent.
In the rear gallery an ejection seat is reimagined as a circular, gyroscopic chair along a colorful track. Although connected to power and an additional control podium, the piece apparently does not run its circular path for visitors. Emanating an outmoded functionality, the piece now appears both evacuated and vaguely sadistic. Greeting gallery visitors is an electric wheelchair holding a resin-cast figure of the artist. As it sits immobile on a gray track, the installation evokes notions of geriatric lifestyles and an uncertain artistic handicap. Heavy Bruschi is a heap of destroyed works on canvas, originally created by the artist’s assistant only to be presented in such a skewed fashion. Like the indistinguishable nature of the shredded canvas paintings, Mirror for Hang Over Bud similarly presents an ironic purpose. Three oval mirrors hang together for the viewer to examine, although their surfaces are of aluminum foil rather than glass, thus preventing one from seeing anything but a ghostly reflection.
Absence and displaced functionality are notions that recur throughout Luhring Augustine’s exhibition. It is in these voids that a presence is created—one that is eerie and somewhat imperceptible. Kippenberger’s transformative skill with materials is present in the abundance of objects, assemblages, and framed works that inhabit the gallery’s white cube– so much that one could wish there was more physical space to experience the pieces independently. “I Had A Vision” runs through June 18.
Martin Kippenberger [Luhring Augustine]