Skip to content

PETER SARKISIAN This artist is best known for projecting videos of naked subjects onto the four sides of Minimalist Plexiglas boxes, with results that are mesmerizing as technology but thin and somewhat maudlin as art. In his current show at I-20, Mr. Sarkisian cuts to the chase.


His latest efforts focus on technology's inner workings while more thoroughly integrating video and sculpture to achieve a kind of Pop-Art Precisionism. Mostly illusory, in-camera assemblages, the works consist of contoured, clear plastic reliefs of engines or engine parts set in the wall; details are filled in by rear-screen video projections and include pistons, gears and ball bearings spinning, whirring and clicking at different rates.


The intense, jewel-like colors constantly mutate and even shift to black and white. Ribbons of words snake among the parts, suggesting dream narratives as unpredictable as machines are reliable. The future of this kind of projection may lie less in art than in advertising, education, Christmas decorations or the lava lamp market, but it definitely holds your attention.


The three ''Extruded Video Engine'' pieces, as they are called, seem to symbolize the intricacy and technological magic of Mr. Sarkisian's art and the hard work it requires. (One, ''Large Shape 1,'' is at left.) The pieces also contrast digital and analog technologies. A fourth video projected through the relief of a large light bulb seems to underscore the discrepancy; it shows a very unmagical bird's-eye view of a welder in his workshop. 


Written by Roberta Smith