April 12–June 1, 2019
Tauba Auerbach wants to know how matter and energy flow; how rhythms and patterns emerge from and structure these flows; and how electromagnetic flows in the body and brain amount to life and consciousness. To investigate these things, she pours through scientific journals, attends philosophical conferences, and studies YouTube videos on anatomy, magnetism, and molecular biology. But Auerbach is equally engaged by heterodox theories and indigenous wisdom—panpsychism, traditional medicinal practices, ancient string games—viewing the path of knowledge as a spiral that always doubles back to confirm and revive neglected or rejected perspectives. She approaches all these subjects as an artist, embracing art’s subjectivity and taking bias as a data point in her investigation of the world.
Auerbach’s exploration of fluid dynamics is evident in her Extended Object paintings (2018– ), which freeze a field of cascading droplets that appear to vibrate, swirl, and eddy, though they are motionless. Her Ligature Drawings (2017– ) elaborate on the connections between flow patterns and traditions of ornament, following a pulsing line through improvisational calligraphy. “I don’t want to just draw the rhythm,” she says; “I want to be the rhythm, to sense the rhythms I already am.”
Auerbach’s latest work—her first kinetic sculpture—pushes this idea further. Rather than picturing the rhythms of fluids and forms, the sculpture instantiates these dynamics. As time passes, soap film fills the chamber of an active central mechanism. Made of twisted metal wires and powered by the sun, the sculpture reflectsAuerbach’s fascination with fascia (the meshwork of connective tissue that surrounds muscles, organs, glands, and blood vessels) as well as the BioTensegrity model of anatomy and flow of electrical energy within the human body. Joining this work is a series of infrared photographs documenting heat and a YouTube video library that offers an array of approaches to capturing or modeling the microscopic forms and movements at the heart of Auerbach’s current curiosity.