K.R.M. Mooney


November 4, 2022 — January 15, 2023
36 Orchard Street



Miguel Abreu Gallery is pleased to present K.R.M. Mooney’s extence, his first one-person exhibition at the gallery. The show was held at our 36 Orchard Street space.

Prior to the opening of the exhibition, the limestone tile floor of Miguel Abreu Gallery was polished at the request of the artist. This process requires direct contact with a diamond blade and abrasive polishing powders. The insistent, fine grinding of the rotating disc exemplifies rhythms and internal drives that gently transform matter through prolonged touch. The moment the limestone is pulverized, its calcium-bearing chemical composition comes into focus, permeating the space and establishing one of the registers of convergence present throughout the show. Mooney’s use of calcium carbonate substances in various forms draws out affinities between discrete objects. The compound becomes a node in the networked modes of material behaviors. By emphasizing the gallery floor, the very basis of the architectural interior and the physical support of many of his works, the artist subverts the assumed invisibility and auxiliary role of the ground, embracing it in a gesture of long-lasting care, the effect of which will outlive the exhibition.

In extence, what Mooney places on display is the very infrastructure of connectivity, a map of latent encounters. Through his use of electroplating, silver particles are forced to migrate and form a layer on various steel surfaces. As a result of what the artist calls “material disputes” between ferrous (containing iron) and non-ferrous compounds, the surface becomes volatile in the moment of contact with air. The metal industry would deem this an incompatibility or a flaw, and art conservationists “an inherent vice.” Encouraged to oxidate and bind with free particles, the metal changes coloration over time, indexing contingent interactions with its environment. Contact is contamination insofar as it allows divergent bodies to co-constitute one another. The steel panels in the “Housing” series (2022) notate this process, displaying the effects of exposure. The rectangular frame, joined together magnetically, provides support and interiority for cast elements that bear traces of pieces of cuttlebone striation (another substance composed of calcium carbonate). The accommodating structure of these works are diaphanous in their relation to the exterior and interior, collapsing topologies into one another. The soft auburn sheets of copper-infused plastic are also responsive to intimate contact with exterior conditions such as moisture, temperature, gasses, and sunlight. Due to its copper-based structure, the sculptures self-regulate the levels of rust, acting as an absorptive reservoir over its multiple parts.

It is not only the receptivity to the atmospheric elements that amplifies the works’ affective boundaries; attention to how infrastructural systems, such as electric and hydraulic circuits, operate, interlock, and give rise to things and behaviors is required to see the full extent of Mooney’s artworks. In Outlet (2022), a glass element is shaped after a float valve, a device that measures and manages water levels. As this work reaches out and marks a height level, it suggests a sense of volume and dissolves any sense of quantitative metrics, pointing to the unscalable nature of space in living perception. Outlet makes active the ways in which sensation extends itself in order to perceive space or size. The sculpture enters the gallery space with an embodied memory of tangible volume co-entangled with recollections of peripheral maintenance work.

The utility of tools and objects in Mooney’s composite sculptures supply the works with the ability to connect with their surroundings as well as with human bodies that pass through the gallery space. At the same time, the intrinsic function becomes unfastened through its dormant status, allowing for other forms of engagement to seep in. The polished aluminum surfaces within inactive lighting fixtures shine and reflect from the ground up, while a jeweler’s block points to an absent body steering it. By abstracting systemic processes and elements, Mooney compresses these networks to meaningful operations of contiguity, bodily inscription, recuperation and affinity. What may be understood as the inactive functional object reorients one’s aesthetic sensibility towards the re-contextualized infrastructures and architectural physiologies. Mooney’s quiet objects possess the ability to rearrange one’s perceptive frame, highlighting what is placed overhead and bracketed out.

—  ­Dominika Tylcz




K.R.M. Mooney (b. 1990 in Seattle, WA) lives and works in New York. After studying at Central Saint Martins, London and California College of the Arts, San Francisco, Mooney’s work has been featured in solo exhibitions at Konrad Fischer Galerie, Berlin (2021), Altman Siegel Gallery, San Francisco (2019), Kunstverein Braunschweig, and as part of the SECA Art Awards at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (both 2017), Pied-à-terre, Ottsville and also at the Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art, San Francisco (both 2015). Mooney’s work has been included in group exhibitions at the Hessel Museum of Art, Bard College, and Braunsfelder, Cologne (2022), Miguel Abreu Gallery and the ICA Los Angeles (2021), Yale Union, Portland, Stadtgalerie Bern, SculptureCenter, New York (2020), Fondation D’entreprise Ricard, Paris, and Kunst-Werke Berlin (2017), White Flag Project Library, St. Louis, Futura Centre for Contemporary Art, Prague, and Altman Siegel (2016), among others. Solo exhibitions at Progetto, Lecce, Italy, and Midway Contemporary, Minneapolis, are forthcoming in 2023.