Jonathan Muecke’s New Works Are a Familiar Enigma

Jonathan Muecke doesn’t seem particularly interested in siting his work on the spectrum between design, art, and architecture, so we won’t do it for him either. But the interesting thing about his new works for Volume Gallery is that they’re described in the exhibition materials as “unknowable” but also “open to ongoing interpretation” — which, in some paradoxical way, makes them more knowable? “This exhibition highlights Muecke’s interest in introducing new forms to our collective visual vocabulary, finding shapes without precedent, and adding to our accumulated knowledge of design and objects,” the gallery writes. And yet viewers are free to make their own associations, untethered as they are from preconceived notions about what Muecke’s pieces ought to be or represent. For instance, a piece called TB (Textile Box) — made from sheath of nylon with circular cutouts, pulled over an aluminum frame — calls to mind everything from Nancy Stella Soto’s cutouts to a children’s fort; a red painted steel structure is Judd-esque in its minimalism but could act as a clothes valet — because why not? The exhibition is now closed but lives on forever here.

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