LIVING ROOMS by KIKI FURLAN at GIANNI MANHATTAN [from 20240426 to 20240525]

[Photos: Kunst-Dokumentation.com]

Furlan’s coin-operated shopping mall kiddierides, animatronic locomotives, and felted forests, ask for a penny for our thoughts. Plunk the proverbial coin into the exhibition’s cognitive machinery to find the mind set in motion, en route to a place inside the attraction’s insights, its sight-lines, particular perspectives, and incorporated ideas. These are rides once upon a time really experienced, then internalized as thought; rides, here summoned from their own obsolescence, real storage lockers and the mists of memory alike, to revive a past life of wondrous transports and drifts. Over-turned in Furlan’s mind into thought-objects, objects of contemplation, these sculptures isolate the attraction as a poetic device: an expressive machine, proposing an imagined language of arrested motion.

Rides draw near questions of duration, scale, and space, no doubt. But, more precisely, Furlan’s sculptural attraction, as sites, draw into proximity forms of life imagined, or intuited, in the simple, rote mechanic of the familiar image. These sculptures, fantastically ordinary objects in the end, move the mind to the trope—that is, to the eternal return of the familiar expression, forever slipping inside its own system of meaning, towards alternate ideas in reception, new meanings spun in the poetics of what moves the mind to make something. In Living Rooms, Furlan’s mind’s rides are re-animated in the real with the sin of literalism. In her installations, psychosocial spaces are collapsed into imagined localities, the insignia of shopping mall kiddy corners and airport Fun Zones into measures of aesthetic perimeter, and allusions to domestic spaces with expressive habitats—per the titular mistranslation of the German Lebensraum: a tricky term designating the biotope, overturned in time as an expression of geopolitical intent. To be clear, the scenes staged in this exhibition move us into the visual site, only to bring our attention to the invisibles inside: the near-imperceptible lines between inside and outside space, views from within and without forms of language, the emotional teetering between frames of thought, which amass over time into an understanding of an object’s life inside our minds—for all the possible ‘reals,’ reeling in emotions, desires, and imaginative expressions.

These cabooses choo choo into the semantic associations between locomotion, locution, and locality, to articulate the attraction as analogous to the ceaseless movement of language, and the ever-elusive place of meaning. The forests of the imagination, perhaps.

[Text: Sabrina Tarasoff]

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