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Exhibition Tour: Reena Spaulings, "Later Seascapes" at Galerie Neu, Berlin


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Galerie Neu exterior

Galerie Neu seems to operate similarly to how Reena Spaulings (the gallery) operates, which is to say, neither of them give a shit about posting things online like installation shots or press releases. Whether this is because they’re too punk, too lazy, or too rich to care remains to be seen. And given that Spaulings’ previous works are a series of sculptures and a novel, imagine my dismay walking into Galerie Neu, where (the artist) Reena Spaulings’ has mounted an exhibition of Roomba-painted Zombie Abstraction. (Yes, a floor-scrubbing robot, technically an iRobot Scooba 450, painted these paintings, which look surprisingly fresh and Richter-y considering.) Check out the press release (which I typed from the print-out I picked up at Neu) and installation and detail shots below.

Reena Spaulings
Later Seascapes
February 6 – March 7, 2015

“Am I cleaning a large room or a small room?” asks the iRobot Scooba 450. Later works by JMW Turner (Snow Storm, Rough Sea with Wreckage, Seascape with Storm Coming On, etc.) are found and lost in the spinning brush and lubricating/sucking action of a floor-scrubbing robot. Using Mouse’s Back, Smoked Trout, Blazer, and other colors selected from Farrow & Ball’s menu of “estate emulsions” (now readily available in Berlin), Spaulings channels the senile-visionary late late Turner in the robot’s drone-like way of attacking the canvas like any bathroom floor. A weather report in paint, a flood warning transmitting as interior décor, distributing estate emulsions according to the 450’s internal algorithm.

For a previous series of works on canvas, Spaulings redeployed and art historian as a paintbrush. “I’m stuck,” says his robot-substitute, stalled in a pool of Eating Room Red. And at the end of her cycle, it’s always: “I’m finished with my job and ready for the next.” This brush is a black box on wheels, chatty and tireless, and capable of coating two Schnabel-sized areas on a single battery charge. She always begins with a circular motion, sensors on, spiraling outwards from the center before scumbling off on jaunty diagonals as she calculates the size and shape of the job. “Bohemian Groove,” an alternate title for this exhibition, ended up on one of the paintings instead. In another, a two-eyed sea monster seems to emerge from the waves.

A “Later Seascape” in Galerie Neu’s foyer

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