Erika Vogt, Stranger Debris Roll Roll Roll (2013), Courtesy New Museum, New York Photo: Benoit Pailley
The back room in the New Museum lobby is currently draped with hanging anchors, plaster molds, and other myriad items, a bizarre assemblage of pieces and materials that forces visitors to duck their heads and tread cautiously as they move through the narrow room. This installation, newly created for the museum by artist Erika Vogt, is Stranger Debris Roll Roll Roll, a surreal video and sculptural piece that playfully toys with the raw materialism of the works on view.
Born in 1973, Vogt has exhibited broadly in the past three years, including works at the Whitney Biennial, the SFMOMA and the Hammer Museum that showcase her idiomatic approach to filmic works and sculptural process, and this exhibition marks her first solo exhibition in a museum setting.
Such is the case with Stranger Debris, where Vogt has exhibited a series of televisions playing video loops of the same objects hung from the ceiling. Using thickly layered combinations of digital and analog video techniques, the footage on-screen creates a vibrant, often jarring effect on the viewer. Moving objects in and out of frame (often layered directly over and on top of each other in sharply contrasted colors), the works welcome a vivid investigation into the works hanging above each screen, all while avoiding an intrusive exploration of the pieces.
The result of the piece is somewhat confounding, examining objects and practices (Vogt occasionally appears) on-screen in quick succession, and allowing the viewer’s attention to drift towards the physical counterparts, strung across the room on taut black ropes. Enormous recreations of manufacturing screws, telephones, casts and geometric forms play off images of dollar bills and and collaged newspapers.
Occasionally, the meanings of the numerous objects lock into place, creating some garbled cultural reading, but more often, the language surrounding these juxtapositions breaks down. What remains is the objects themselves, broken away from pre-associated cultural readings, and left to construct a new view, one with the object itself, its material composition and form, at its center.
Vogt’s show is on view until September 8th.