Luftwerk, the collaborative endeavor of Petra Bachmaier and Sean Gallero, typically uses sound, light and projection to trick the eye and imbue the senses with soft and welcomed confusion. For “Into and Out of,” their exhibition at The Franklin, the two artists installed work that retreated from their usual repertoire of projection-based trickery, instead augmenting the outdoor gallery’s architecture. Intended to complicate the perception of perspectival space, a dozen Mylar-coated panels are installed both inside and outside the Franklin’s lattice-like structure. Those inside are connected to the ceiling with the ability to subtly sway, while the companion works along the exterior are secured firmly to the ground, transfixed.
The stalagmite-like configuration features broad rectangular mirrors with openings cut through their centers, each progressively narrower than the previous one. A mesmerizing reflective portal, the installation focalizes on the thin slot through the furthest panel, framed by choppy and entrancing reflections of the surrounding grass, earth and power lines. Meanwhile, the interior hanging installation is comprised of the positive forms which were cut from the nearby construction, this time arranged in an opposite sequence from smallest to largest. One’s eye traces this ordered set through space along suggested diagonals from one mirror to the next, a composition that pleasingly imitates similar diagonal stylizations in the permeable architecture of the gallery. Standing amongst these hanging elements, spatial orientation is continually flummoxed by the interruption of the permanent walls by those reflected in the artworks. In both arrangements, the backsides of each panel are coated in matte black, allowing a reprieve from the reflective sides’ immersive hypnosis.
Rain threatened to close the opening, but allowed an added layer of depth to the installations. Bouncing playfully off the Mylar, haphazard drops further fragmented the lines and angles at play in the reflections. Luftwerk’s usually highly controlled immersive works are here subject to the unpredictable happenstance that accompanies outdoor art experiences. This project adapts to the backyard gallery that houses it, building an installation that not only reflects its surroundings but also invites reflection on the specific conditions of this alternative gallery display. (Kate Sierzputowski)
Through July 26 at The Franklin, 3522 West Franklin.