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A looped glass pipe rises out and returns through the top of a freezer in Manny Krakowski’s A Simple Chemistry Experiment Explained as a Monument, currently on view at Monte Vista Projects. Shorn of insulation at its turning point, the pipe reveals a steady flow of cooled (salt) water, its outer condensation dripping onto a piece of synthetic marble below.
The quotidian object in art easily tempts cynicism. To his credit, Krakowski demonstrates that it might still provoke thought—or at least curiosity, for those of us plunged into ponderance by the hum of a compressor. Krakowski’s appliance is transformed, in a manner both subtle and extreme: its innards foregrounded, its intended function left in the dust. Less clear is its relation to the surrounding, accessorized tableau, comprising two immaculate blown-glass orbs, real and synthetic marble, a steel armature smeared in a patina-ing sunscreen (Coppertone?), and overextended aspirations into the digital realm via a materials list reference to “virtual space,” which directs to a vague, appreciably scenic webpage.
The glass offers a counterpoint of transformative, wrought-material beauty that the specter of the freezer nearly swallows up, begging the question of just what Krakowski’s monument ultimately explains. The press release figures the monument as a diagram, a “symbolic representation of information” that thus points away from the object itself—something the relative anonymity of the freezer, even in its transformed state, underscores. One may discern either layers in the mechanical mis-functioning—a monolith retooled—or, simply, an appliance that no longer works correctly.
Manny Krakowski: A Simple Chemistry Experiment Explained as a Monument shows August 20-September 11, 2016 at Monte Vista Projects (5442 Monte Vista Street, Los Angeles, CA 90042).