Time Out New York / Apr 22–28, 2010

Cristiana Palandri
SCARAMOUCHE c/o FRUIT AND FLOWER DELI

The final show at this gallery’s current digs—it moves to Orchard Street in May—is also the artist’s New York debut. But while the material aesthetic of this Italian sculptor’s work is consistent with the venue’s grungy style, “Noiseless” makes for an uninspiring finale.

Palandri deals in a kind of post–Joseph Beuys, pre–Matthew Barney bio-assemblage, using organic objects and substances in allusion to bodily forms and processes, while eschewing her forebears’ love of personal and contextual mythmaking. Human hair is a particularly favorite medium, but she also incorporates a variety of waxy, bony and feathery artifacts and fragments into the four works here. Most of these are housed in artful, picturesque containers: Adrift employs a slightly precarious wooden cabinet; Herald a tall glass bell jar.

While the show’s title is nicely economical as a characterization of the slow, silent processes of decay to which the works’ components are inevitably subject, the art itself has a regrettable aura of halfheartedness. Palandri’s chosen materials are those of a thousand students reaching for physical shortcuts to deep content, while her mechanisms of display lean on a shabby-chic look that is at once self-conscious and underdeveloped. The structural eccentricities of the central installation (actually just a sculpture), titled Wide Shut, hint at the possibility of more fruitful investigations to come. But “Noiseless” itself, far from representing an exercise in judicious restraint, simply doesn’t have very much to say.

Image: Cristiana Palandri, Adrift, 2010