COME ON IN, WE’VE BEEN EXPECTING YOU. These are the first words viewers see in Heather Phillipson’s project for Frieze New York, a wacky three-part video-and-sculpture installation that features canines, dog food, trampolines, king-size pillows, and faux hedges, among other things. It’s called 100% Other Fibres, and it’s a delight.
It’s been a big year for Phillipson, whose work is on view for a few more days at the Whitechapel Gallery in London in “Electronic Superhighway 2016–1966,” a 50-year survey of art’s relationship to technology that runs through May 15. There, the British poet has presented an installation that parallels the death of a police dog with the death of a pet one, and here at Frieze dogs are the subject again.
Well, sort of. In a statement, Phillipson said that the installation is “a clash of nervous systems—dismembered, dissected, and flung down on Randall’s Island”—which is why models of human bones lie strewn around the work. (In one part, a chainsaw lies next to a fake human pelvis.) But the focus is really dogs, who appear to leap into and out of screens throughout the installation. Mounds of dog food sit under the dogs; the animals’ empty bodies are stuffed with the dog-food bags.
On the various flat-screens that dot the installation (and sometimes bisect the animatronic sculptures) are various images of dogs. All have undergone visual effects, such that some are low quality, while other appears in gaudy hues of pink and green. One installation features fake turds and maggots, and on the video is a soundtrack of a woman saying “maggots, maggots, maggots” over and over again.
What’s it all mean? It’s hard to say, but it’s a welcome break from all the pristine and shiny objects around here. When everything else around the fair feels too orderly, Phillipson swoops in and blows it all wide open.