Frankie Rice and Katrin Sigurdardóttir Build Big Structures and Small Stages

02/15/2012 5:00 AM |

In their respective installations in tiny Tribeca project spaces—sixth floor walk-in closet-sized gallery Launch F18 and Art In General‘s ground-floor storefront room—Brooklyn-based Frankie Rice and Icelandic part-time New Yorker Katrin Sigurdardóttir have irreverently manipulated archetypal architectural forms. While the success of Rice’s trash can archway is predicated on our ability to walk through it, Sigurdardóttir’s suspended miniature stage is deliberately inaccessible. One urges interaction while the other denies access.

Rice’s exhibition Solo (through February 29) consists of the eight-and-a-half-foot-tall sculpture “Andy” (2011), an archway made of aluminum trash cans bolted onto an unseen wooden frame just wide enough for one person to pass under it. The form evokes an arbor, but also arch-shaped monuments like Paris’s Arc de Triomphe or a suburban bricoleur’s Stonehenge. The iconic trash cans, all crinkled and creased from the cutting and bolting, have a pleasant and surprisingly fragile materiality, recalling the car carcasses of the late John Chamberlain. The gleaming surfaces echo the form’s ritualistic functions; Rice sees the act of passing through his sculpture as a cleansing process, of casting off refuse. Whatever its function, in F18’s close quarters “Andy” conjures the right balance of imposing monumentality and ironic trashiness.

At Art in General, Sigurdardóttir’s installation “Stage” (through March 17) features a miniature and brightly lit stage hanging from the ceiling like a chandelier fashioned from an old architectural model. The room in which it’s installed is only visible from the street—during the exhibition’s opening reception the room was open, but even then one could only stand under the empty stage gazing up onto it. With its spotlights and slotted sides, “Stage” casts rectangular shadows at strange, diagonal angles over the gallery’s walls and, at night, through its large windows onto the street. It becomes abstract if not downright alien in its evocation of a UFO; only gradually does this suspended, glowing and shrunken contraption begin to register as something figurative, even familiar. Like Rice, Sigurdardóttir tweaks scale, material and presentation to make a common structure unpredictable.

(Images: Frankie Rice, “ANDY” (2011), courtesy Launch F18, photo by Tim Donovan; Katrin Sigurdardóttir, “Stage” (2012), courtesy the artist and Art in General.)