“I Had a Dog and a Cat”

Organized by Hana Ostan Ožbolt, “I Had a Dog and a Cat” is a nimble group show that pays tribute to artist and self-professed “old child” Josef Čapek’s 1929 children’s book, All About Doggie and Pussycat: How They Kept House and All Sorts of Other Things. Like the house-pet protagonists, the works on display dabble in a kind of understated domestic bliss, marked by the quiet mischief of the self-entertained.

Working together with artist David Fesl, Ožbolt developed an exhibition design that nixes artificial illumination in favor of natural light. This simple gesture emphasizes the architectural drama of Kargl’s interconnected spaces and the subterranean corridor that connects the storefront to the glass-ceilinged back gallery. In the former, Josse Pyl’s Eating Grammar III, 2021/2022, studs one wall with a looping pattern of polymer teeth, each roughly the size of a fist. On the opposite wall, Andreas Fogarasi’a collage triptych Prague Sights (Architecture)—(1955/1967/2003), 2021, responds with an airy constellation of uprooted map markers.

This willful disorientation continues down the dark tunnel and up into the sun-flooded central gallery. At the foot of the stairs sits Michael E. Smith’s Untitled, 2018, an upright Panasonic camcorder with a potato unceremoniously blocking its view. Nearby, an untitled 2018 sculpture by Denisa Lehocká fillets a business shirt like a fish, slinging the skeleton of cuffs, collars, and button seams over a pendulum. Deeper into the space, Kazuna Taguchi’s softly devastating The Eyes of Eurydice # 16, 2020, doubles the temptress’s heavy-lidded gaze in a gelatin silver print of an image that the artist painted based on one of her own photomontages.

But it is Fesl who steals the show with his deftly engineered untitled assemblages. The pocket-size arrangements of odd elements—a broken eyeglass frame, the handle of a toy gun, a desiccated starfish—read almost like musical notation, a symphony scored in the chaos of one’s junk drawer.

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