South likes: Michael Smith and Ian Cheng at La Triennale di Milano, Milan

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Michael E. Smith, Untitled, 2013. Courtesy KOW, Berlin and Michael E. Smith. Photos: Arthur Péquin, Bordeaux

South likes: Michael Smith and Ian Cheng at La Triennale di Milano, Milan
Michael E. Smith, Ian Cheng
Fondazione La Triennale di Milano, Milan, Italy
5 – 30 March, 2014

Inaugurating the new position of Edoardo Bonaspetti as curator of Visual Arts and New Media of the Triennale di Milano, these two solo shows sound like a declaration of intents, claiming a new space for showcasing young and experimental artists in Milan. The two american artists Michael E. Smith and Ian Cheng display their work for the first time in an Italian institution, the first curated by Simone Menegoi and Alexis Vaillant, the second by Filipa Ramos. Although their practices are pretty distant, the juxtaposition of Smith and Cheng reveals a tendency, shared by both artists, to the hybridization of different elements into highly contrasted and delirious visions of reality.

Smith’s exhibition is a composition of enigmatic presences: an exhaustion pipe that possibly swallowed a bird, the inner structure of a child seat, an inform mass of plastic and white feathers: these objects are made of disparate materials including altered industrial objects and organic matter. Shy and unsettling in their guise of bio-manufactured renegades, Smith’s sculptures look like conspiring readymades, half-hidden as they are in the dimmed light of the spacious venue.

Cheng’s videos drag the spectator into a whirlwind of neurotic interactions in a glitchy 3D computer graphic. The elements that animate these videos are an embarrassing presence that push to the extreme the hybridization between human and digital. Like the figures in the video This Papaya Tastes Perfect, their meaningless yells sounding like an emotionally broken verbal spasm while their figures pointlessly swirl around each other in the semblance of roughly rendered digital avatars.

Michelangelo Corsaro

http://www.triennale.it/en/exhibitions/present/3327-ian-cheng-en#

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Michael E. Smith, Untitled, 2013. Courtesy KOW, Berlin and Michael E. Smith. Photos: Arthur Péquin, Bordeaux

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Michael E. Smith, Untitled (detail), 2013. Courtesy KOW, Berlin and Michael E. Smith. Photos: Arthur Péquin, Bordeaux

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Ian Cheng, This Papaya Tastes Perfect (still), 2011, motion capture animation, 8min, sound.

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Ian Cheng, Thousand Islands Thousand Laws (screen capture still), 2013, live simulation, infinite duration, sound.

 

 

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