"PICKS | Kim Gordon at Benaki Museum, Athens"

Artforum.com
July 15, 2015

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View of “Kim Gordon,” 2015

Kim Gordon
BENAKI MUSEUM
Koumpari 1 & Vas. Sofias
June 13–August 30

While the full title of Kim Gordon’s current solo exhibition—“Design Office: Noise Name Paintings and Sculptures of Rock Bands that are Broken Up”—makes direct allusion to the concept of noise, the show itself might just as easily be characterized by the dramatic effect of silence that it invokes on both visual and thematic levels. The main walls of the long gallery space are lined with black-and-white paintings that memorialize and canonize current noise bands as well as groups that are now defunct. Distinctly nonfigurative, the paintings still bear some affinity to icons; they contain only the written names of bands—such as the Stooges, Noise Nomads, or Secret Abuse—some of which are known for interspersing textured and often dissonant sounds with long stretches of silence.

Five of Gordon’s paintings are muted by their illegibility; these unstretched canvases have been scrunched into sculptural mounds and placed directly onto the gallery floor as if discarded. The graffiti-like drips of black paint that slide down from cursorily rendered letters in each piece are still visible, yet the full names are buried within the folds and swells of canvas.

Despite the generous amount of breathing room given to the works, the exhibition space is not actually silent; an opening-night performance by Gordon’s current musical duo, “Body/Head,” is projected from speakers at the gallery entrance. Yet this ambient sound track complements the reflective atmosphere created by the sparse arrangement of works, which lead towards a large concave mirror positioned like an altar at the back.