In 2011 San Franciscan artist Tauba Auerbach held a solo show at the Bergen Kunsthall in Norway that cemented her reputation as a fine artist with heavyweight conceptual clout as well as being a maker of extraordinarily beautiful objects. Tetrachromat suggested that there was a fourth colour spectrum only perceptible to women and Tauba created a selection of objects that experimented with this theory – including vast books printed with rainbow gradients that are still some of the most beautiful objects I’ve ever laid eyes on.
Three years later she’s arrived in London for another solo show, this time at the ICA, and the conceptual background to her work is no less essential. The show takes its name from a scientific work by Martin Gardner, The New Ambidextrous Universe, that deals with notions of symmetry throughout the physical and metaphysical worlds. These ideas are manifested in a collection of newly-created sculptures and a single photograph, all made by Tauba herself, that are extremely complex in their manufacture, utilising various industrial processes to achieve the final result.
As ever in Tauba’s work the aesthetics match the concept with unparalleled finesse and there’s plenty to enjoy even if you don’t care to wade into the ideas that inform the show. That said, exploring the roots of this exquisite collection improves the experience tenfold – her blown glass constructions are that much more satisfying if you understand why she’s made them into that specific shape.
The New Ambidextrous Universe runs at the ICA until 15 June 2014.