It was a sad day when Ohad Meromi moved out of our studio building. I used to delight in stealing a peek into this neighbor’s studio whenever I passed by because everything he had in production was fantastically thoughtful and rigorous. His work refers to stuff like Giacometti’s figures and game boards, and to Constructivism, but it’s not like the gimmicky recitations of Modernist tropes you see everywhere and people complain endlessly about. It has its own contexts and ideas, its own interest in labor and production. He’s a superb craftsman and sculptor, and he partitioned his studio from an open common area with a round, handmade wooden wall that now divides the screening room from the rest of Nathalie Karg. His video, Worker! Smoker! Actor! (the exhibition’s centerpiece), tracks a woman employed on a cigarette assembly line, which is depicted in an animation by Meromi. There are intertitles taken from Vsevolod Meyerhold’s Meyerhold on Theater (1969), exhorting the possibilities of disassembling boundaries between physical action and psychic experience, between work and leisure. It’s unclear if they’re presented skeptically or earnestly. But it’s more than worth it to stick your head in and see what Meromi can do. I wish I still could more often.
Ohad Meromi: Worker! Smoker! Actor! through August 15. 41 Great Jones Street, between Bowery and Lafayette, New York City, 212 563 7821print