Rivane Neuenschwander’s A Day Like Any Other is quiet, contemplative and mesmerizing. She attempts to capture the poignancy, melancholy and repetition of human life in works that engage and interact with the viewer. The most interesting yet elusive piece, A Day Like Any Other, features flip clocks scattered randomly throughout the museum, masquerading as permanent fixtures. The clocks flip every minute, but always display 00:00. I first noticed a clock by the museum café before I knew that it was part of Neuenschwander’s exhibit. I reacted with the puzzlement and delight that she must have intended. Another very simple yet elegant piece is Arabian Moons, a filmstrip with holes punched in it. The resulting projection resembles a flickering moon. These are the simplest pieces on display, but they characterize the sentiments she tries to convey.
Neuenschwander’s work ranges from video to paintings and installations. One unifying feature is the element of performance. She varies in scale, from the aforementioned simple pieces, to complex performances such as The Conversation in which security experts installed bugs in a room which then recorded Neuenschwander tearing the room apart, searching for them. The Conversation, though interesting, lacked finesse. It left me wondering why it was executed so artistically, but did not leave me contemplating surveillance as Neuenschwander intended. Some of her other large scale works also seemed lacking.
While I think Neuenschwander’s large scale works lack the strength of her simple pieces, she always maintains her sense of quiet inquiry. Her work captures the repetition, contemplation, rest, struggle and sometimes paranoia of simple daily life.