Specters From Here and There

02/13/2013 4:00 AM |

BRURAL: Peripheral Vision
The Active Space

Specters literal and formally figurative alike linger about in this fine exhibition (through February 24). Curated by Daria Kostina and Irina Danilova, the show transcends fraught decades, bridges distant geographies, and merges Brooklyn with Russia’s Ural region to sow maniform seeds for the late-term emergence of a group of mostly untrained, overlooked, indeed properly ‘peripheral’ artists—several of whom are more than just figuratively underground.

No stranger to the sketchbooks of mathematically inspired artistic tinkers and similarly meta-dimensional thinkers, M.C. Escher is among BRURAL’s most unmistakable specters. Airs of his ostensibly impossible or at least physically improbable forms appear with all due ethereality in Vladimir Danilov’s videos, in which animated means breathe life into otherwise statically cross-pollinating geometries; and in the elegantly robust wooden carvings of Eric Pesso, whose mathematician’s mind, programmer’s mode and hermetic patience are his polysemic guides in the manual crafting of beguilingly three-dimensional lines, cool in their exactness of execution though deeply warmed by lively yet idled movement. Less candidly, then, and with certain Duchampian tones as well, Escher-like indications come forth also in the rustic repurposings of Alberto Maros Burzstyn, whose configurations of post-utilitarian refuse seem yet to beg some sort of use: hanger-formed boxes as laundry baskets, perhaps, or bird cages; a tall stack of stools as structural buttressing; a sequence of vacant frames as a silhouette-like staircase to shadows above and beyond. BRURAL’s most prodigious spectral presence, however—indeed radically spectral on various levels—is the late Bukashkin (Evgeny Malakhin), a Soviet-era-honed ‘outsider’ of sorts whose words, songs and works—at times critical of a different time’s great political specter, communism—are now satirical, now amusing, now agonizingly prophetic.

Bukashkin is not BRURAL’s lone artist hailing from Russia, nor is his the lone voice to speak from the grave; his company includes fellow countrymen and kindred ghosts alike. All the works on display, though, and all the show’s resident specters, seem here quite alive and quite well—not to mention exquisitely reawoken, however posthumously, in an industrial relic reinvigorated with bounteous artistic activity. Never before has The Active Space worn its moniker in a fashion quite so fitting.

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