K.R.M. Mooney at Miguel Abreu Gallery | Orchard Street


K.R.M. Mooney’s first exhibition with this gallery (and in New York) features a selection of suggestively deformed equipment, from architectural and industrial materials to nearly figurative compositions. Take the wall-mounted assemblage Housing (c.) ii (all works 2022), with its bent, expensive-looking, copper-colored sheet. This aspect nearly resolves into something that looks like a flag, or a folded page—it’s almost trompe l’oeil. The gray piece made up of serialized objects on the floor, Radial Affordance (c.) i, contrasts against Housing’s playfulness with a hard, selfsame presentation of manufactured components. More text than texture, Mooney’s works overall are smooth and polished in their hot/cool hydrophobic digitality. And yet the mass-produced materials are subtly transformed, releasing anachronistic whispers of bitumen and limestone. Reading the show’s “how it’s made” press release authored by Dominika Tylcz, I think of a Venn diagram where technical manuals and pornographic technicality overlap. In J. G. Ballard’s 1973 novel Crash, for instance, mechanical descriptions of violent car accidents perform an erotic function via the threat of shattered curves and searing edges.

One work, Outlet, 2022, looks like, but clearly isn’t, a brass faucet. Hung at roughly urinal height, its nonspout points gently upward, as though it were a cherub’s penis. The plumbing is collared by a curved piece of frosted glass—an element that appears to be both fluid and basin. In its quasi-figurative mode—a seemingly new development in the artist’s work—it refuses resolution as one thing, or as a particular tool with a definitive function (even if we know what all the elements comprising the piece are). Belying the exhibition’s subtlety, the play of improper use, chemical alteration, and misrecognition in Mooney’s art characterizes a curiously sensual politics of form.

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