Churner and Churner presents a solo exhibition of works by Brooklyn-based artist Lisi Raskin. “Shots in the Dark” includes work made from 2005 to 2012 and is the artist’s first gallery exhibition in New York in five years.
Lisi Raskin’s fascination with the military-industrial complex has long been central to her artistic practice. For over a decade, Raskin’s work has been moored to a Cold War narrative; in Julia Bryan-Wilson’s words, Raskin “performs, rather than enacts,” research. In 2005, the artist spent a month in Scotland looking for nuclear submarines. Since then, she has traveled to the Arctic Circle, former East German and Yugoslav atomic bunkers, and through the American West while examining remnants of twentieth-century militarism. This on-site investigation has informed the making of drawings, objects, videos, and large, constructed environments that simultaneously quell and stimulate Raskin’s disquieted relationship to technologies spurred on by war.
In “Shots in the Dark” Raskin reevaluates the endgame of her own process, centered until now on large-scale, temporary installations. Over the past year, she has been cultivating an emerging direction in her work: a series of plein air paintings made in industrial Brooklyn. Raskin’s practice, which began as an investigation of bricolage and the possibilities of artwork in a post–9/11 environment, and mutated into an extended, decidedly handmade exploration of the aesthetics of war, has now mutated once again to incorporate and deploy the medium of oil painting. Materially, the oil-on-Belgian-linen works are radically different from Raskin’s previous constructions of balsa wood, foil, cardboard, and construction paper. But shown alongside such objects recovered from previous installations in Athens, Berlin, and Stockholm, it is clear that the paintings retain the artist’s cumulative visual language.
Raskin’s constructions have never been literal reproductions; as the artist has explained, she chose the hand crafted forms of her collages and sculptures in order to “collapse the space of sculpture into a space that would immediately signal fiction to the viewer . . . so that a more prolonged relationship with the object could be possible.” For this exhibition, she has signaled that fiction to an even greater degree by reworking objects from previous installations. Like ceremonial weapons inlaid with precious metals and gold, Raskin’s adaptations – of a pine cone rocket, an 8-foot collaged map of Operation Barbarossa, and a balsa wood TEC-DC9, for example – render them ever further from the real object.