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Zarouhie Abdalian / MATRIX 249 

When: Aug. 2-Sept. 29 2013
Price: $7-$10
Zarouhie Abdalian’s sculptures are visually subtle, but conceptually potent. The Oakland-based artist aims to alter the experience of social and physical landscapes via mesmerizing negotiations of sound and space. In her solo exhibition at the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (2626 Bancroft Way, Berkeley), entitled Matrix 249, Abdalian presents an electric alarm bell inside of a glass vacuum reminiscent of a large ice cube. Although one can see that the bell is continuously ringing — even the vibrations of the bell’s brass face are visible — it is effectively silent. Instead, the sound of a symphony of small hammers emerges from inside a black box on the other end of the gallery. The experience of standing between the two objects is counterintuitive, prompting a consideration of the assumptions that we make about our surroundings through a misalignment of sensory clues. Matrix 249 is the first solo museum exhibition for CCA graduate Abdalian, who was among the winners of the SFMOMA’s SECA Art Award last year. Although the three-piece show, tucked away in one of BAM/PFA’s cavernous corners, could be easily overlooked, it deserves a quiet moment of appreciation.
— Sarah Burke


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