by Lucie Alig
It is no surprise that Sounds Good, a group show curated by Claudia Calirman at Location One, revolves around sound — specifically a looping, eight-minute track comprised of chimes, warring chopsticks, iPhone-induced beeps, and the occasional punctuation of a grunt. The show’s eight artists (having never before met) recorded the composition themselves, during the weeks leading up to the opening, in the basement of the Soho gallery.
On paper, the exhibition’s artworks are all “visual responses to [the] collaborative sound piece,” but in actuality, it’s hard to tell if the track’s the true springboard for this sprawling array of paintings, sculpture, and video art or, rather, the conveniently unifying veneer. While John Aslanidis’s pulsating painting “Sonic Network no.10” reacts to the curvature of sound waves, and Zane Saunders’ playful arrangements of wall-mounted ceramic pieces are strikingly reminiscent of musical notation, other pieces (Gonzalo Puch’s “Untitled” and seemingly plant-oriented collage) render the link more tenuous.
Still, there is much beauty in the show, and the theme of sound adds dimensionality to what would otherwise be a straightforward viewing experience. The 7,000 sheets of stacked paper — each printed with the same segment of a Hiroshige woodblock — that create Miler Lagos’s “Cimiento” sculpture (or, similarly, the hundreds of meticulously pleated New York Times pages that compose Lagos’s “Tree Ring Dating”) would seem, in any other context, a nod to repetition in nature. But here they highlight how pieces of music can be, at once, autonomous and reliant on the fragility of layers.
There’s no doubt that the connection between auditory and visual realms is tough to nail down, and Sounds Good testifies to the abstruseness between these two realms of comprehension. While I did not exit the fortress-like door of Location One with an exacted or even tightened sense of auditory-visual symbiosis, I did feel compelled to reach, eventually, a better understanding of their co-existence. Outside on Greene Street, a taxi honked at the same moment an “Open” sign began its nighttime neon glow. And I was thankful to have noticed.
COMPLETE LIST OF ARTISTS: John Aslanidis, Katy Dove, Phoebe Hui, Sophie Hunter, Miler Lagos, John O’Connell, Gonzalo Puch, Zane Saunders