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information he provided play painted areas
against negative space, allowing viewers the
fun of filling in the blanks: how does that
snippet of blonde hair spilling into Study for
Bedroom Painting #56 (1982) relate to the woman
whose body is suggested by those exaggerated
nipples and the breast-shaped scoop of blank
paper?
But to what end did Wesselman use his
considerable formal talent? Clearly to indulge
an obsession with nipples and aureoles – the
one element that appears in virtually all these
works – and a secondary fetish for bush. Cause,
one hopes, for an active private life, but
here the source of a deadly, repetitive art
all the more claustrophobic for its technique.
What would happen if that woman and Guagnini
had babies?
(7)
Per KirKeBy New Paintings,
Michael Werner Gallery
Given the wealth of new painting today, this
exhibition of Danish artist Per Kirkeby, who
came to prominence during a similar boom during
the 1980s, should be a welcome chance to
reevaluate neo-expressionism, now almost
camera’s – way. The problem is that as much as
terminally out of favour, and to provide a
one could talk about such heady things as the
context for what’s going on today. instead,
work’s ‘mediated phenomenological engagement’,
these 11 new paintings, most dated 2007, seem
its ‘challenge to our epistemological model of
wan and one-note.
seeing-equals-knowing’, the ‘panoptic regime
of surveillance’, the ‘ethics of captivity’,
All but one is organised around a series of
our own problematic ‘speciesism’ and so forth,
vertical bands, each distinguished by colour
the work only appears to exist as a prompt for
and brushstroke: for example, diagonal jots of
such discourse and not much more.
Kelly green over a purple ground; a scribble
of yellow down the edge of a canvas; or three
The single piece that seems to escape this
squarish patches, one on top of the other.
fate is the one that is marginal to the
Layered strokes and the placement of brighter
installation itself. There, on a single monitor
over darker colours give these works the feel
that stands at the entrance to Katchadourian’s
of landscapes. Kirkeby made good use of that
Zoo, we see a worker standing at the entrance
conceit in his heroic work of the 1980s. These
to a real zoo. she is overloaded with balloons
just seem like slapdash daubs.
to sell to visitors and is caught in both a
mild but gusty wind and underneath the rather
(8-9)
low ceiling of an entrance pavilion. it’s
MAhoMi KuniKATA The Devil Within YAOI,
sisyphean, quite beautiful and quite sad – and
Tilton Gallery
largely because it escapes what we might as
AshLey hoPe Ripeness Is All, Tilton Gallery
well call the ‘discourse problem’.
one would hope that Japan, a country so
repressed that strait-laced office workers get
shit-faced and puke on subway platforms, would
produce art with more depth than the manga-
derived work of the school of Murakami. But as
this show of Mahomi Kunikata, a member of
Murakami’s Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd., indicates,
not here, not now. instead we have the usual
bright colours, the same sloe-eyed naifs, the
floppy-eared bunnies, some with a bandage,
some with… oh dear, is that blood?, acting out
a pseudo-tragedy in some amusement park
kiddyland.
As the bondage scenes photographed by nobuyoshi
Araki evince, there’s more to Japan than hello
Reviews Marathon.indd 68 7/1/08 16:48:04
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