The Artist’s Institute
132 E. 65th Street
New York, NY
April 12 – June 1
Opening Reception: April 12, 6-8pm
Tauba Auerbach wants to know how matter and energy flow; how rhythms and patterns emerge from and structure these flows; and how electromagnetic flows in the body and brain amount to life and consciousness. To investigate these things, she pours through scientific journals, attends philosophical conferences, and studies YouTube videos on anatomy, magnetism, and molecular biology. But Auerbach is equally engaged by heterodox theories and indigenous wisdom—panpsychism, traditional medicinal practices, ancient string games—viewing the path of knowledge as a spiral that always doubles back to confirm and revive neglected or rejected perspectives. She approaches all these subjects as an artist, embracing art’s subjectivity and taking bias as a data point in her investigation of the world.
Auerbach’s exploration of fluid dynamics is evident in her Extended Object paintings (2018– ), which freeze a field of cascading droplets that appear to vibrate, swirl, and eddy, though they are motionless. Her Ligature Drawings (2017– ) elaborate on the connections between flow patterns and traditions of ornament, following a pulsing line through improvisational—at times sonically amplified and performed—calligraphy. “I don’t want to just draw the rhythm,” she says; “I want to be the rhythm, to sense the rhythms I already am.”
Auerbach’s latest works—her first kinetic sculptures—push this idea further. Rather than picturing the rhythms of fluids and forms, the sculptures are themselves dynamic, allowing a set of key gestures to unfold over time. A soap film fills the central opening of a mechanism referencing Auerbach’s fascination with fascia (the meshwork of connective tissue that surrounds muscles, organs, glands, and blood vessels) and the interstitium (the newly discovered structure of fluid-filled compartments that extends throughout the body and constitutes one of its largest organs). Another pair of sculptures exhibits different types of spin: exploring the dynamism of asymmetry and symmetry, AC and DC currents. A YouTube video library offers an array of approaches to capturing or modeling the microscopic forms and movements at the heart of Auerbach’s current curiosity.