The young Swiss artist (born in 1990) is known for installations that weave art, music, and performance, seamlessly, which is evidenced in his first solo show with Ellis King, titled “November
The first clue to the unusual nature of Merlo’s stage set is the use of light. The artist replaced the gallery’s lighting with dim, industrial grade light bulbs, strung on a single wire across the space. These drops of light are not meant so much to illuminate, but to establish the tone of the show, to mix with whatever natural light is available and create a dimly lit, mysterious aura and a slightly obscured line of vision throughout the nearly vacant space. A dramatic, deep crimson curtain fills one wall, a nod to a classic theatrical stage yet it’s not hanging before the trio of bare-bones platforms. The layout of these small stages are more suitable to theater-in-the-round rather than proscenium, which calls for a divider, a hint that perhaps the gallery’s inhabitants and the exhibition’s performers are one in the same.