The work of Sarah Rara is what I wished alchemy actually was. Instead of arcane symbols, unrealized dreams for gold, and failed plans for immortality cocktails, I want alchemy to be science that can appreciate the strange mysteries underlying the universe, an awareness of the spectral power that makes sound sonorous to the ear, textures delicious to the touch, and colors converge and contrast in scintillating optical illusions, a methodical intellect that understands the core of existence is ineffable. Rara’s various
colors converge and contrast in scintillating optical illusions,
videos and musical projects (she halves the duo of Lucky Dragons) contain this contradictory power of clarity and mystery. In A Ray Array, 2011, the sudden smashing glass punctuates the metronome, the dance of stripes gliding over each into moire patterns, and a floating mallet sounds a clear, ringing note. Even though I cannot handily explain every on-camera experiment (why does the toxic hand turn the circular stone? why is the red hat spinning?), I always feel that harmonies and interruptions are always performed with vision and grace, a kindness and curiosity that easily invites affinity.
ANDREW BERARDINI was born in the United States and writes about art for a living. His publications include Artforum, LA Weekly, Mousse, and Purple as well as numerous fictions and fairy tales that occassionally stumble into print, including Get In (with artist Brian Kennon) and the narration of The Lost Issue with Public Fiction. He curates art sometimes, aiding Bruce Nauman to skywrite, locally premiering a Lawrence Weiner porno, and turning the Church of the Holy Shroud into a metaphysical disco (the last with Lauren Mackler). A few months ago, he launched with his buddy Sarah Williams a new publication called The Art Book Review.
Photo by Francesco Calabrese