Maria Antelman: Disassembler at Pioneer Works

Art Scene

Maria Antelman: Disassembler at Pioneer Works

The work of artist Maria Antelman in the exhibition Disassembleroffers an avant-garde experience for viewers in search of something out of the ordinary. Presented at the post-disciplinary space, Pioneer Works, the project is perfectly matched with the cultural center’s focus on the activation of alternative modes of thought through art, technology, music and science. Its location in Red Hook, Brooklyn—a slower, more spacious and remote area of the borough—prepares viewers for a multi-sensory experience.

Installation view. Disassembler. Maria Antelman. Pioneer Works, New York, December 6, 2018 – February 8, 2019. © Dan Bradica

As soon as you walk into the space, which was formerly an industrial factory before being reconstructed to stunning effect with brick, wood, large windows, interior balconies and vaulted ceilings, a black and white flat screen features one hand edited in a choppy style to show a slight movement of its fingers. The monitor is installed at a high level next to a staircase that takes you to the second floor, where another part of the show is installed.

Installation view. Disassembler. Maria Antelman. Pioneer Works, New York, December 6, 2018 – February 8, 2019. © Dan Bradica 

In a dark room, a variety of monitors and screens are presented: one on the floor; one on a pedestal; one on a contraption that looks like part of a piece of exercise equipment; and one in front of what looks and feels like a high-end, form-fitting luxury sports car seat. Although images ranging from a space suit or organic matter to eyeballs and minimalist graphic design elements edited in the same automated style draw the eye first, it is the sound within the room that may be more compelling. Random noises form a syncopated backdrop to two voices – one male and one female.

Installation view. Disassembler. Maria Antelman. Pioneer Works, New York, December 6, 2018 – February 8, 2019. © Dan Bradica

Excerpts of what appear to be conversations or interviews with each of these voices are juxtaposed with one another. A variety of comments ranging from primordial investigations into the earth and an extinct African lion to inquiries into the nature of consciousness versus energy test visitors’ capacities for what may appear to be extravagant, yet compelling strains of thought. A few lines include: my imagination is all I’ve got to go on at this point; everything is filled with tendencies and intentions; reality is built on intelligence; and, as part of another video installation on the 3rd floor, small hands are designed for mild activities.

Installation view. Disassembler. Maria Antelman. Pioneer Works, New York, December 6, 2018 – February 8, 2019. © Dan Bradica

With a bit of magical thinking, one may be able to decipher that Antelman is exploring the relationship between consciousness, energy, time and matter in the form of human beings and natural phenomena like rock sediment and animals; as well as the relationship amongst and between hand, eyes, and touch. In any case, an interesting engagement with technology, visual culture and philosophical ideas in a somewhat interactive environment will undoubtedly stimulate the neural pathways of even the most skeptical visitors.

Maria Antelman: Disassembler is on view at Pioneer Works through February 10, 2019.