Philippe Decrauzat

"Plate 28," Swiss Institute, through Jul 15

Installation view

Installation view Photograph courtesy Swiss Institute

Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>0/5

I wanted to like Philippe Decrauzat’s first solo show in New York. The young, Swiss artist has developed quite a reputation in Europe as a formalist bad boy and intellectual rebel. During the recent Basel Art Fair, he didn’t even bother to turn up to collect his Swiss Award for Best Newcomer.

But the exhibition “Plate 28” is a disappointingly mixed bag of familiar references: Op art, Constructivism, Eadweard Muybridge, The Twilight Zone and, that ubiquitous signifier of hip, post-punk music. Pulsar is nothing more than a silk-screen print of a graph purporting to chart the first-ever recording of a sound wave. Having trouble picturing it? Consult the cover of Joy Division’s album Unknown Pleasures. The image gains little by Decrauzat’s recontextualization.

More effective is the show’s centerpiece, a massive vinyl wall work titled A Square. The black-and-white grid wraps around three walls; in its presence, you may feel like a figure trapped inside a Muybridge photo, standing still yet experiencing motion due to the pattern’s optical effects. (The show also includes a film loop, though it was not functioning on two separate visits.)

All in all, Decrauzat’s show is too cryptic. Its mishmash of artistic strategies and cultural references may leave you wondering why you showed up for this newcomer yourself. — Adam E. Mendelsohn