This Room, 2023
Running time: 00:10:39
The state of the lights in a room constitute a mode—ON and OFF.
If your room is like our room you can switch it ON and OFF.
—Elizabeth Orr, This Room, HD video, 2023
Elizabeth Orr’s sculpture recontextualizes signature features of our built environment, heightening their formal properties for nuanced consideration. In her third exhibition with Derosia, The No Name Lightbulb, Orr expands her architectural references and sculptural vocabulary, further probing elements of design that are rendered invisible by their familiarity.
Orr’s sculpture enacts a tension between object and painting, mass-produced and manmade, aligning with traditions in minimalist sculpture yet employing new strategies. Orr’s architectural sculptures subtly shift within repetition and order, generating an inherent kinetic language. Orr uses an orbital sander to finish her exposed aluminum surfaces, and parallels this circular, atmospheric technique in her painted panels with a French wash, referring to decorative interior painting and addressing two poles of design: construction and decor. Her color choices derive from sources such as video production and interior wall paint.
The sculptures, mounted on walls, ostensibly preclude their viewing in the round. Yet through the deployment of slats and shutters, Orr opens the works to another mode of three-dimensional viewing, rupturing and exposing an otherwise concealed verso to our perception. The sculptures adhere to internal specifications to ensure their modality, insinuating regularity while inventing within their own form. The painted panels undulate and pause, their composition richly rhythmic rather than rotely repetitive.
Orr also introduces the readymade to her practice with wall plates, strategically installed to align more closely with codes of construction than museological conventions. Outlet covers proliferate across the gallery space, divorced from function and emphasizing form. With this gesture, Orr threads together the guiding logic of her installation, the lineage of minimalist sculpture, and the reciprocity of interior design standards and extrinsic systems. Minimalist sculpture descends from the reductive trend of the readymade, a fact underscored by the morphological similarities in Orr’s examples of each. Rectangular and wall bound, her sculpture and readymades align as framing devices, portals, to the amorphic natural and manmade conditions that supplement interior design. Sunlight, views, methods of display, electricity, internet, are all indexed by the work in The No Name Lightbulb, yet not directly proffered. In subverting this expectation, Orr casts into relief the infinitude we funnel, selectively, into our daily surroundings.
Orr’s installation calls attention to the series of codes that conspire in the design of interior spaces, the regulatory at times dictating the architectural. The new video This Room (all works 2023) combines an original interview with designer and architect Pierre de Brun, who speaks to his experiences with building code and how it affects design choices, as well as a short poetic scene performed by Theodore Darst and Sky Murray from Orr’s script based on interviews about interface design.
Elizabeth Orr lives and works in New York. Recent and forthcoming solo exhibitions include VIN VIN, Vienna (2023, 2021); 1708 Gallery, Richmond, VA (2022); Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC), Troy, New York (2016); and Bodega (Derosia), New York (2017, 2015). Group presentations, screenings and lectures include Kunsthal NORD, Aalborg, Denmark (forthcoming, 2023); Sharp Projects, Copenhagen (2022, 2021); Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA (2019); CAC Brétigny, Brétigny-sur-Orge, France (2018); The Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2017); Artists Space, New York (2015); Anthology Film Archives, New York (2018, 2016); and The Swiss Institute, New York (2016). Her work has been reviewed in Artforum, Art Agenda, ARTNews, Art Review, BOMB Magazine, Dis Magazine, and others.