Thursday, September 19, 2019

Mika Rottenberg's "Easy pieces" at the New Museum

“Easy pieces” is Brooklyn-based artist Mika Rottenberg's first New York solo museum exhibition. The exhibition contains several video, installations and kinetic sculptures. With subject matter such as overwhelmingly packed Chinese shops, pearl farmers dissecting pearl shells, and whipping ponytails, she created an uneasy feeling for the viewers. The whole exhibition is like an unsolved puzzle, I can’t help but to try put each element into some order. She chooses everyday objects such as potatoes on dinning table and places them in the context of potato farm in Maine where millions of potatoes are dumping from a bin to create an unsettling yet overwhelming dreamlike environment making viewers rethink their own relationships with products they possess. The exhibition design was well thought out; for the piece “No Nose knows"(2015), the viewer enters through a storage and display area of a pearl factory. this installation area brings the physical distance close to the audience in an unfamiliar setting. Overall, I am dazzled by the surreal feeling that the exhibition provide and the internal connection of consumerism and labor.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Ziping, nice work. I see you decided to mainly focus on the pieces connected to consumerism and labor, which is definitely an interesting point of view. I wonder if you could emphasize the surreal aspect of her work a little more though. There is no mention of the work where she compares the sounds of Tibetan Throat singers with frying eggs and other things, but maybe that doesn't fit into your theme on consumerism and labor. Perhaps you could get more specific about the Pearl video and give a more detailed example of how it focuses on the strangeness of these issues through surreal imagery. Perhaps you could talk about how the predominantly Asian workers infecting oysters in order to grow pearls were seemingly connected by a mechanism that involved a rope that went up to a room above where a white woman's job seemed to be sniffing flowers and then sneezing out plates of noodles. This seems to me to be a comment on globalization and international issues around labor and consumerism. I may be wrong on that, but I still found it very interesting and thought-provoking.

    Some grammar, vocabulary and writing notes:

    Be careful of changing between past and present tense. Try to choose one tense and stick with it. One example is that you wrote: "she created an uneasy feeling for the viewer of “Easy pieces” The whole exhibition acts like an unsolved puzzle, I can’t help but naturally try to associate and try to puzzle each element together." You switch tenses here. Perhaps change "she created" to "she creates" so that the tense is consistent throughout the review. Check the whole review for other changes in tense.

    Also be careful about using the same word twice. In that same sentence, you used the word "puzzle" twice. Try to come up with a different word for the second one. Perhaps something like "fit the elements together" might work?

    Also, I think the workers are using oysters, not clams and they are infecting them with bacteria or something, in order to cause them to grow pearls, so they are not really "dissecting" them exactly.

    Finally, I find the last sentence a little too long and difficult to understand. Maybe you can make it into two sentences and clarify what you mean a little.