Aria Dean
Abattoir

★★★☆☆

On until 5 May 2024

The ICA’s once inviting gallery space is now a maze and smells of industrial rubber. Inside this pen, Dean’s video follows an animal’s death parade in a disused slaughterhouse. After a moment of exuberant confusion, the image turns into a sinister whirlwind. To the soundtrack of a cheap horror film, the invisible carcass then whimsically journeys over a pool of CGI blood and along a row of butchers’ hooks.

Dean has contributed plenty to art’s politics as a writer and editor. Her thoughts on necropolitics would have thus been of some interest. But this work is as subtle as the “U.S.A.” denominator included in the video’s title. Even at the outset, the project’s chances are scarpered by a knee-jerk association of black American life with systemic and terminal oppression.

Capital is racism, architecture is death. Dean isn’t wrong and all this could have been a decent e-flux essay. But visuals of her own making overpower Dean the artist. There are, for example, no butchers and no cattle in the film’s frame. The question of death-value turns into idle musing, leaving the work of the ‘system’ as opaque as ever.


notes and notices are short and curt exhibition reviews. Read more:

Ksenia Pedan, Revision at Cell Project Space ★★★★☆

Ksenia Pedan

Revision

★★★★☆

Pedan’s paintings would rather be anything but.

Avery Singer, Free Fall at Hauser & Wirth ★★☆☆☆

Avery Singer

Free Fall

★★☆☆☆

This show would be better without the baggage of the artist’s personal story and even better without the Twin Towers altogether.

Sin Wei Kin, Portraits at Soft Opening ★★☆☆☆

Sin Wei Kin

Portraits

★★☆☆☆

This exhibition combines the most vulgar of all art school tropes: juvenile narcissism, NFT kitsch, and mindless referentialism.

HelenA Pritchard, The Homeless Mind at TJ Boulting ★★★☆☆

HelenA Pritchard

The Homeless Mind

★★★☆☆

Death by debris falling from building façades is an artist’s occupational hazard.

Odoteres Ricardo de Ozias at David Zwirner ★★★☆☆

Odoteres Ricardo de Ozias

★★★☆☆

These images are perfectly charming even to a viewer possessed of a cold anthropological eye. The troubling part is in realising just how far ‘outside’ the ideas are.

Iris Touliatou, Outfits at PEER ★★★☆☆

Iris Touliatou

Outfits

★★★☆☆

These gestures remind the gallery that it is a social space. Unfortunately, they also inadvertently point to its sorry end.

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