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reviews DaviD aDamo
DAviD ADAmo:
UntitleD (loUli)
Fruit aND Flower Deli, New York
25 Ja NuarY – 21 FebruarY
It’s nearly impossible to mention David Adamo’s solo exhibition at Fruit and that is both fetish Americana and blunt weapon. Propped against the
Flower Deli without mentioning the eccentric gallery itself. Experimenting gallery walls, the baseball bats are surrounded by wood shavings. Adamo
with vaguely religious sermons, performative residue (such as brightly crudely carves the midsection of the bats with chisels, hammers and box
coloured confetti) and constant talk about ‘the Oracle’, the organisation cutters until their barrels resemble thin bones. Nestled in a nearby corner,
conveys a somewhat ridiculous mysticism. According to its website, the the tips of two hunting arrows – evoking the doomed Native American –
space is ‘a vessel for the voice of the Oracle’, and Rodrigo Mallea Lira, are loosely draped with felt, a direct reference to Joseph Beuys’s protective
formerly a curator at Tensta Konsthall in Spånga, Sweden, is its ‘Keeper’. associations with the fabric.
Is he sipping ayahuasca? Is there a Swedish recreational drug that I’m If whittling baseball bats and muffling arrows suggest Adamo’s
not aware of?! However sane or slightly insane Lira might be, the artistic displeasure towards American swagger, then the tableau by the gallery’s
shamanism works. People appear, things just sort of happen and change is front door provides a similarly scornful reaction towards bourgeois
instigated – its spectres linger and accumulate. complacency. A smiling portrait of Louli, her harlequin face painted with
David Adamo’s installation is no exception, and it’s as cryptic flowers, hangs on the wall above a small stage carpeted in white. A violin
as the gallery itself – there is no press release, no artist statement, no bow rests on the platform. Obviously, the portrait’s generically classical and
announcement card and no checklist, only a vague character named Louli representational figuration, coupled with the useless violin bow, insinuates
and various postmodern situations arranged throughout the space. Untitled that refinement and barbarism are useless in polarity. This statement isn’t
(Louli) shares with Adamo’s earlier work a propensity for process, ritual and particularly revelatory or clever, but Adamo nonetheless infuses it with such
obsessive detail; he channelled Sophie Calle for the Swiss Institute group energy and conviction that cleverness hardly matters. David Everitt Howe
exhibition Do You Like Stuff? (2005) by stalking a man named Macgregor
for eight months, compiling files, paintings, detritus and even bacteria
samples from Macgregor’s nail clippings; according to a Performa press
release, Adamo completed a series of tasks for the recent 2007 biennial
within and about the Metropolitan Museum of Art to ‘test his will’.
With a spare installation of modified and unmodified appropriated
objects, Untitled (Louli) is a confrontation between primitivism and civility,
American unilateralism and European multilateralism – the flaying of seven
Whittled Bat, 2008. Courtesy
baseball bats is viscerally indicative, as Adamo savagely destroys an object Fruit and Flower Deli, New York
Artreview 134
REVIEWS_April Part 1.indd 134 3/3/08 13:36:34
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