Review: Laura Lamiel, “L’Utopie Préserve Du Cynisme”

Silberkuppe, Berlin.

Laura Lamiel’s variety of Minimalism is one of intimacy. With her sculptures and installations, she reduces structural forms to elemental traces. Figure, 2013, is a room framed by three sterile, white, enameled steel walls assembled in the center of the gallery’s first room and simply held in place by a scattering of C-clamps. Within this semi-enclosed space stands a series of white enameled objects: a floor of neon light fixtures in a row, a neat stack of bricks, a tall, leaning vertical beam, a slanted square board, and a lone chair facing the invisible fourth wall, where the viewer looks in. The seat is filled with a dense pile of unused, cream-colored cotton gloves—evoking the human touch—and another, smaller neon tube lies atop the pile. If these objects didn’t feel so fragile, their austere presentation might seem severe, enhanced by the harsh, insistent glow of the neon lights that invite a confrontation with trauma, security, or transcendence. Like a hyperbaric chamber or a Japanese capsule hotel, this room is made for a solitary human to inhabit.

Similarly, Untitled, 2016, blocks the center of the second room, with another temporary structure, built from twelve long, enameled steel bars in white and gray or left raw and rusted, all set in a low alternating stack like the wall of a log cabin. A single flat stripe of browned, aged silicon lies across the surface of one like a skin—a vestige of an absent living being. This work’s interior space is left empty, though. Two long neon tubes—their cables coiled and trapped in and around the bars—light the vacant space between. As a metaphor for encasement, consider this an entreaty to contend with bare self-reflection.

First published on, March 31st, 2016.

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