"All right, wait a second," the German artist Peter Wächtler writes in the statement that accompanies his latest exhibition at Reena Spaulings Fine Art. "We have a long show, we have a hell of a show for you. A beautiful thing." The text continues much in that way—a showman pleading to a mute audience—as does the presentation. In "Ever-Ready Reveries," Wächtler's love for showmanship and exaggeration, mixed with a touch of vulnerability, finds physical expression in the form of invertebrates, reptiles, and a mundane household chore.
Situated on a raised stage in the gallery are a number of supersized creatures, many of them noxious: Ladybugs, it turns out, are markedly less cute if scaled up to match the dimensions of a small dog. Scattered amongst them are several snakes of different lengths—some coiled, some outstretched—yet all easily clear the threshold for what would be a memorably upsetting wildlife encounter. Speaking of which, a massive earthworm sculpture, poised with its head and tail raised, looks to be taking in its surroundings—lack of eyes be damned.
Wächtler's creative intuition is no less effective when it comes to the sparsely elegant. Across a series of six paintings, he captures successive moments as a pair of hands, wearing yellow rubber gloves, carries out the task of folding laundry. In subsequent scenes, the pile grows larger, topped off with one freshly folded garment after the next. The sequence might allude, obliquely, to the harrowing events of last year—which his statement apparently nods to in the line: "...look, look, we've... we've seen a lot of things happening in the city, and everything's turned around." Perhaps look no further than this: the covered hands, the repetition, the gravity of routine.
Peter Wächtler, Snake 1 (Mallorca), 2021. Glazed ceramic, 9 3/4 x 31 1/2 x 23 2/3 inches, unique. Courtesy of the artist and Reena Spaulings Fine Art, NY/LA. Photo: Joerg Lohse