Miami artist’s crowd-control work not for the faint-hearted

Antonia Wright's performative work about societal violence does not pull its punches

Apprehensive-looking visitors at Antonia Wright’s Control installation at Spinello Projects, Miami Diana Larrea; courtesy Spinello Projects

“I’ve been reading a lot of police manuals,” says the Miami-based artist Antonia Wright, who has taken the metal police barrier as a starting point for a performative sculpture in her show, Control. Visitors to a performance at Spinello Projects on Monday night entered through a darkened corridor and signed a waiver warning of possible disfigurement and death before being ushered into a darkened gallery divided by a 22ft-long metal barricade. With no warning, another barrier—propelled by an unseen pressurised piston so powerful it had to be bolted to the gallery’s concrete floor—came flying out of the dark and slammed into the divider. “I wanted to mirror the [societal] violence happening now but recontextualise it so that we can process it,” Wright says. “The opposite of control is resistance.” Performances continue until 10 December.

Appeared in Fair Dailies, Art Basel in Miami Beach 2017