Niki Kriese
"The first piece I saw of Niki’s was a video series called Trying to Fall in Love, where Niki invites friends and strangers to sit across from her and just, please, try to fall in love with her. It’s an amazing thing to watch, but voyeuristic and sad – we suspect that surely this task is doomed, yet we still look for signs of something – even if it is just the existence of belief. I don’t know if it worked. And after all, we realize, what would it have looked like if it had?

I teach writing at Parsons and if I ask any student what they want in life, falling in love is almost always somewhere on that list. But in a matter of minutes I found myself questioning, in a way I somehow never had before, precisely what falling in love was, in what instant did it happen, and would a stranger recognize it if they saw it? And at the same time I was made to focus on this idea’s existence, I was also made acutely aware of its absence. And is this not what we do, as humans but also as artists, is just ask people to love us?

The film was not about whether it worked. It was about, in a multitude of ways, what we are looking for.

I use this example in order to show that in Niki’s work, you will come to understand that the most important things often happen outside of the physical boundaries of the work or the screen. She does not ask a question directly, but after experiencing the work we find that questions have somehow actually been implanted in our minds. The way she does this, and this is true of the best Conceptual artists, is because she is an alien sorceress able to actually enter our brains and manipulate our thoughts with art. She places ideas and images in a pressure cooker, and using this intensity creates new pathways for us to travel.

So when she introduces tasks that come across as futile, or directs our attention to something that is not there, we begin to realize that the transformation is actually happening within ourselves."

-Katie Peyton, Undercurrent Projects
March 13, 2014