Lisi Raskin, High Positive Void Coefficient

Preview 20th September - 6.30 pm
20 September - 27 October
curated by Gabi Scardi


“He who controls the present, controls the past. He who controls the past controls the future”

George Orwell

Galleria Riccardo Crespi, a new exhibition space for contemporary art conceived of by Riccardo Crespi, will open on the 20th of September in Milan, at via Mellerio 1.

The gallery inaugurates its exhibition calendar with the first solo show in Italy of the American artist Lisi Raskin. Raskin presents a site-specific work envisioned for the three level structure of the gallery. High Positive Void Coefficient (a term used in nuclear engineering to explain the trend that occurs in a chain reaction before a meltdown occurs in a nuclear reactor) is a multimedia installation about a top secret, hermetically sealed space, whose functions are being monitored by reconnaissance vehicles.  

With interventions that span the entire gallery, Lisi Raskin creates a complex installation, a sort of theatre-laboratory that evokes post-atomic visions, gives shape to tensions, dangers, and fears of the real and imaginary risks that affect the inhabitants of the earth today.  

The elements that structure the work are video, drawings, architectonic structures and sculptures.  Raskin has created environments that refer to advanced science and research such as bunkers, small orbiters, and hyper technological atmospheres brandished with control systems, and emergency equipment.

Halfway between fiction and truth, the artist seems to blend Kubrickesque scenes from 2001: A Space Odyssey and Dr. Strangelove with real reported facts about Chernobyl and the accident of the nuclear submarine Kursk in the icy waters of the Bering Strait. These episodes revolve around nuclear threat and the risks of technology in general and remind us that the atom is not the only the danger that can easily escape from the hands of scientists.

In this, as in her previous works, the civil and artistic conscience of the artist is melded in order to make the spectator aware of the topics and the mysteries of war, both atomic and conventional. In doing so, Raskin questions unexplained aspects that every nation hides from its citizenry under the guise of national security. 

These secrets carry the artist to imagine a variety of unstable, figurative and literal spaces in which the spectator becomes the protagonist of a choreography for which the real, physical world is set as background. The viewer is the left to interact with a space loaded with cultural memories and paranoia, including those of the artist. 

Raskin leaves room for multiple interpretations of these spaces through a series of alchemical, visual, architectonic, and emotional clues.

[The idea is] To transform all the materials, to change the state of the objects says Lisi Raskin - in order to bring the form and the content together - through alchemy both conceptual alchemy and material, physical, metaphysical alchemy.     

Lisi Raskin lives and works in New York.  Among her shows in the United States and Europe PS1 Contemporary Art Center, Transmission Gallery, Glasgow, Scotland; Kuenstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, Germany, and Contemporary Art Center in Vilnius, Lithuania. She was the 2005 recipient of the Guna S. Mundheim Fellowship from the American Academy in Berlin. She has published reviews in Frieze Magazine of Contemporary Culture and C Magazine and artist writings in HTV Magazine.  Raskin is represented by Guild and Greyshkul Gallery in New York and Galleria Riccardo Crespi in Milan.