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Ricci Albenda at Andrew Kreps


   In this exhibition, it seems that the young New York artist Ricci Albenda has transformed the entire gallery into a single living, breathing organism. Humans entering the space appear to interrupt its natural functions, like an animal standing silent and frozen, blinded by a passing car's headlights.

Albenda has carved a number of holes and tunnels into the white walls of the gallery and added plaster appendages that jut dramatically into the space. Embedded in the walls here and there are black letters painted on aluminum panels. They spell out words such as "kilogram," "breathe," "yellow," "stereo" and "ice." Painted in bold, rounded script like super-graphics from the psychedelic '60s, the words seem indicative of moods, sounds or feelings rather than any specific messages or meanings.

This elaborate yet subtle installation is also a kind of topological experiment. Albenda appears to fold and bend the space of the gallery so that, with a wild leap of the imagination, visitors making their way through the show may find a passageway to another dimension. In this sense, Albenda has transformed the gallery into a kind of vehicle, a means of transport to who knows where.

Ricci Albenda, Mar. 7-Apr. 4, 1998, at Andrew Kreps, 529 West 20th Street, New York, N.Y. 10011

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