There’s something slightly strange about walking into an installation designed to look like a homemade living room in every way but the lighting. In the case of Kai Althoff at Gladstone Gallery, the cement floor painted bright yellow doesn’t exactly scream domesticity either, but the artist has integrated enough interior design elements that the florescent lights hanging from the lowered ceiling is disconcerting. Why arrange a raised nappy rug, a series of paintings in the style of Otto Dix and George Grosz, and a dividing wall of painted plaster mugs as if they were part of a household if they are to be lit like a gallery object in”¦ a Subway sandwich store?
The answer to this question doesn’t come from the gallery’s press release, which is purely descriptive, but from the objects themselves: everything is a half-revealed mystery; a personal or private act made kind-of public. The results of such arrangements are predictably mixed. Take the references to religion scattered throughout the show: a watercolor portrait of a Jewish man hangs in the main exhibition space, and in a semi-private corner there is a pile of objects presumably used for worship. We never learn what the artist’s relationship to religion is; only that one exists.
To read the full piece click here.