Art In America

Camille Henrot

at Metro Pictures,
519 West 24th Street

It may seem anachronistic to use a wall-mounted phone, or, depending on your age, to even make a phone call. Nevertheless, in her first show at Metro Pictures French-born multimedia artist Camille Henrot invites nostalgia for the clunky, corded electronics. Pick up the receiver of any one of the pastel, ‘80s-inspired plastic sculptures and enter absurdist self-help hotlines, developed in collaboration with writer Jacob Bromberg. Prompts defy expectation ("Press 5 if your dog manipulates you with lies, contradictions or promises," spouts one), and often trigger unexpected moments of self-reflection. In the second gallery, a series of large, cartoonish watercolor drawings depict animals acting out uncomfortably unethical scenes from mythology and gossip blogs. The piece de resistance, however, is in the third darkened room. Strobe lights flash upon a circular sculpture that rotates rapidly, animating undulating weightlifters, spilling pill bottles, female dancers and worm-like cigarettes. The mesmerizing visuals suppress the banality of the subjects, effectively animating everyday life.

Pictured: Camille Henrot: Bad Dad & Beyond, 2015, three-dimensional resin print with video and telephone components, 44 by 20 by 9 inches.

 

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