Andrea Rosen Gallery
525 West 24th St. between Tenth & Eleventh Aves.
Tuesday — Saturday through June 14, free, 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
BedStuy-based multimedia artist Mika Rottenberg explores chance, luck, environmental concerns, and mass production on a global scale in her latest architectural video installation, “Bowls Balls Souls Holes.” Born in Argentina and raised in Israel before moving to Brooklyn, Rottenberg creates immersive pieces that combine video and sculpture focusing on wildly imaginative Rube Goldberg-like experimental contraptions that bring together radically diverse labor-intensive elements, along with a cast of men and mostly women who can do extreme things with their bodies. In “Tropical Breeze,” the characters (including professional body builder Heather D. Foster) made an actual product, Lemon-Scented Tropical Breeze Moist Tissue Papers; in “Mary’s Cherries,” various women (including fetish wrestler Rock Rose) perform household-like tasks that use red fingernails to make maraschino cherries. In “Cheese,” which was part of the 2008 Whitney Biennial, old-fashioned Rapunzel-esque farm girls use their very long hair to help make the title product. In one of Rottenberg’s crazier setups, “Squeeze” involves butt misting, wall tongues, and the stomping of iceberg lettuce. And in 2011, Rottenberg teamed up with Jon Kessler for the Performa 11 commission “Seven,” a unique chakras juicer that linked a New York lab with an African community.
In the twenty-eight-minute “Bowls Balls Souls Holes,” Rottenberg links a Harlem bingo parlor with polar icebergs and a large sleeping woman who dreams of the moon and wakes up every time a drop of water falls from above and sizzles on her bare shoulder. Occasionally, the bingo caller releases a colored clothespin down a hole, sending it on a journey through multiple trapdoors until it is caught way below by a man (Guinness Book of World Records champion face stretcher Garry “Stretch” Turner, who has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome) who attaches it to his face. The idea of things coming full circle is central to the work, which features many kinds of round objects while also evoking a highly unusual assembly line. As with her other pieces, “Bowls Balls Souls Holes” is filled with some hysterical bits, in addition to some out-and-out confusing ones, which is always part of the fun. (Don’t try too hard to figure everything out.) The video is supplemented with related sculptures, from the bingo board and jars with boiling water to a trio of swirling ponytails and an air conditioner dripping water onto a hot frying pan.