The cumbersome sculptures in Klara Liden’s austere installation on the gallery’s second floor looked like high-end packing crates, but they were actually hefty benches and tables made out of wood originally used for scaffolding. Sawed into portions unable to stand on their own, they were supported by metal “crutches,” as balance was removed and then restored. Running over some pieces and across the floor, the remnants of a pair of fuzzy pink lines spray-painted over tape connected the work in a mazelike fashion. This weightless skein of absence reappeared on three illuminated plastic jugs hanging over a counter in an abandoned Chinese restaurant on the first floor. Chairs, tables, food, and people were the only things missing from the darkened dining room.
Weight and balance were also issues in Warm Up: Hermitage State Theatre (2014), a wall-size video shown in the empty restaurant, featuring Liden inserting herself into a professional ballet warm-up. Visibly more awkward and always slightly behind, she gamely tries to follow the dancers’ polished movements. The video could be seen in a mirror on the opposite wall, sandwiching viewers between a projection and a reflection. By imagining their own attempts to join in the exercise, spectators could participate in Liden’s uncomfortable Duchampian readymade.
A version of this story originally appeared in the February 2015 issue of ARTnews on page 83.