May 29, 2023

An elegant iron architectural framework carves out a domelike space within the entry room of Ruth Beraha’s solo show “We will name her Tempest.” Inside it, an armature of four megaphones hangs low, like a chandelier in a mosque. “Are you looking at me?” a somber voice repeats from the speakers. The query is occasionally interspersed by the hiss of another phrase, this time in French: “Il me fout le mauvais eoil” (You have put a curse on me). Like a thrown stone sending ripples through a pond, the installation R.U.? (self-portrait) (all works 2022) leaves the viewers with a vague sense of paranoia that continues to spread as one delves further into the exhibition. On the upper floor, the installation Anthema centers on an iron sculpture evocative of a minimalist pulpit. Surrounding it is a set of standing speakers that blast a recording of a male choir performing a song whose lyrics question our faith in representation: “Se non vedo non credo/ l’immagine è un inganno” (I’ll believe it when I see it / The image is a lie.)

Within this mystical environment, an untitled trio of alabaster forms offers a vision of the future, starting with a pure white egg balanced on a stiltlike iron pedestal. A second egg bulges slightly outward at either side, while the delicate silhouettes of four pregnant women protrude at even intervals from the third egg’s surface. Though the soft shapes dangle the promise of regeneration, the progression also has the menacing air of what Jude Ellison S. Doyle called the “monstrous feminine.” But here we shall call it Tempest.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.

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