Frieze London 2021
13 Oct–17 Oct 2021
Frieze London 2021
In Kristin Walsh’s solo presentation with Helena Anrather at this year’s Frieze London, a ticking engine sings to a toppled over lamp post while a stripped naked soda can looks on in awe. I imagine the band Journey playing from a radio. “Don’t stop believing!” A mantra to keep us unaware of our failed reality.
I don’t know anything about engines or cars but I did grow up in South East Michigan. There I saw how an entire cultural era was shaped by the automotive industry.
Walsh’s work, like Diego Rivera’s Detroit Industry Murals permanently painted in 1933 at the Detroit institute of art, cull the failed notion that the Industrial Revolution would create a better future for us all. Rivera’s mural and Walsh’s sculpture build an image of what we are left with after we realize that future never came.
Rivera’s mural illustrates the time of the growing automotive industry in Detroit, showing the massive amount of labor at a production plant. The walls read as an all over pattern of bodies and limbs handling machine parts on the assembly line. In a time when people were obsessed with how great the future would be, Diego made a picture of the present. If you go back to these Detroit car factories you can see their ruins. The mural remains a historical artifact and a cautionary tale. A memorial to the people who were failed by the promise of paradise.
If Walsh’s work here were to predict a vision of the future it would seem to be one we aren’t a part of. As the characters in this presentation dance, we as outsiders struggle to mimic their stillness. We no longer feel in control because they are detached from the ways we have prescribed them to function. We can no longer rationalize why they should exist, and yet they do, reminding us, the arbiters of time, that these complex pieces of metal will calmly exist into eternity long after we have gone. Like Doctor Frankenstein and his monster, we have made something that will threaten our lives.
Kristin Walsh received her MFA from Columbia University in 2017 and her BFA from University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 2013. Solo and two-person exhibitions include: Gregory Kalliche and Kristin Walsh, Helena Anrather, New York; NADA House, Helena Anrather, New York; Fjord, Philadelphia; Salisbury University, Salisbury, MD; Visual Art Exchange, Raleigh, NC; Baku, Charlotte, NC. Selected group exhibitions include: Downs & Ross, New York; Water McBeer, East Hampton, NY; Helena Anrather, New York; Marinaro, New York; SIGNAL, New York; Lenfest Center, Columbia University, New York; Gallery 5, Richmond, VA; Wassaic Project, Wassaic, NY. Walsh lives and works in New York.
Frieze installation images by Lewis Ronald