ndapics

10

Lunar New Year, Mata Ruda and NDA: The Impossible Complex (2014)

Tonight, walking toward home through the McCarter Highway hamster tube, our heads nodding “Hello!” to the new art sprouting along the Concourse, we came upon this double-sided beast.

How does one even begin? How does one read this gorgeous monster? Scan it left and scan it right and your eye swims into imagery gravid with meaning. There’s a remarkable density of allusive reference to cultural criticism and literature (such as the exhibit’s Carrollian concept), to myth and history and where they convolute into thick coils like that spellbinding whorl of blood.

But the layering only thickens: a warped section of a Google Maps 45º satellite view spliced into the frame, graphic emblems studding the landscape as both signatures and ironic signs, geometric forms interpenetrating skylines and horizons, an imagined collaboration of Poor Kings and PK Kid! on that riverbank billboard, pointing its white face to the Parkway.

You can stand there for a long time taking pictures and tracing movements in the air with your fingers.

In Newark, Gateway is a metonym for capital as a devastating material force in the urban environment. After forty years, it is rooted, familiar and could possibly be retrofitted if we were to entertain a dim hope. More than anything, though, it is our inheritance of the authoritarian impulse. “The Impossible Complex” is a work rather explicitly “about” the site of its viewing and it’s a devastating denunciation of that very place. It demonstrates a staggering level of talent and effrontery that just can’t be conveyed in these shitty cell phone snaps. See it before someone realizes what’s going on and tears it down.