CHICAGO, IL.- M. LeBlanc
is presenting Black Box, the gallerys second solo exhibition by Los Angeles based artist Isabel Yellin.
I was surprised to learn that the Twin Towers didnt really collapse. They just moved to New Jersey. You can see them across the Hudson from the Upper West Side. I didnt believe it either. But its true.
The Twin Towers are a tuning fork for paranoia. A game of spot the difference. A prompt to imagine all the sinister shapes the future could take, so youre not surprised when one appears.
It reminds me of visiting the Cady Noland retrospective in Frankfurt a few years ago. There were all these sculptures with long, twinned forms: a pair of rectangular HVAC ducts standing side by side, by Charlotte Posenenske; two Claes Oldenberg strips of streaky fabric bacon draped out of a high window. Made in the 80s and 90s, respectively. How could they have known? Did the shapes themselves foreshadow disaster, the way the runic 9/11 draws the towers with 1s, or spells the number the victims dialed? I took photos of the sculptures with my phone and added an antenna to one of themtheretopped with a red dot.
So, maybe youre right. What then? Its like writing a good poem or building a good sculpture. Maybe a few other people agree with you, theres some formal resonance to what youre saying, maybe you form a small community around the congruence of reality and the metaphors youve laid out.
On the other hand, conspiracy is an avian skill, a bird-brain achievement. Looks like water. Looks like an owl. Better check it out. Better stay away. You never see the plate glass coming.
In a dim, crammed second-hand book shop buying a collection of newspaper front-pages from September 12, 2001, the same few pictures of the Twin Towers repeated over and over, dressed with copy in a dozen different languages but all saying the same thing. Its the same thing the spectacled cashier said as he broke my twenty-dollar bill and slipped my purchase in a bag.
Do you know about Building 7?
Yeah, I said. I know about Building 7.
Isabel Yellin (b. 1987 in New York City) lives and works in Los Angeles. Recent curations, solo, and group exhibitions of her work include Frieze Projects LA 2022, Psychosomatic at Various Small Fires, Los Angeles (2021), Your Presence is Encouraged at Nevine's Yard, Los Angeles, 2021, Altar at Mandranova Artist in Residence, Sicily (2019), It'll Come at Night Gallery, Los Angeles (2017), Tabula Rasa at Cabinet/Studiolo, Milan (2017). Yellin's work has been the focus of articles and reviews in The New Yorker, Artforum, and LAWeekly, and was featured on KCRW's Greater LA among other print and online publications. In 2018, Yellin was a recipient of a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant. Yellin received her M.A. in Painting from the Royal College of Art in London in 2014.
Travis Diehl is Online Editor at X-TRA. He received the Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant in 2013 and the Rabkin Prize in Visual Arts Journalism in 2018.