Denys Zacharopoulos

  • THE DESPERATION OF THE NEBULAE

    THE MORE HISTORICALLY RELEVANT an artist’s work is, the more it becomes a matter for interpretation, for it rises above the collective sensibility of zeitgeist or general taste. Historical relevance, then, cannot be equated with joining a set of “masterpieces” that inevitably reflect a museological order of values, but, instead, with developing the concept of a work within a set of possibilities that constitute its necessary condition. Ever since modern artists began experimenting with the limits of such a definition, a vaster range of issues has opened up for us, making it possible to think

  • Harald Klingelhöller

    In Harald Klingelhöller’s show here, sculpture was introduced with quotation marks—literally. These were two angular, mirror-covered floor pieces, volumetric forms resembling single quotation marks (like irregular pyramids with quotation-mark-shaped bases, laid sideways). These “quotation marks” introduced or articulated two clusters of cardboard-and-steel elements as a relation of forms in space. Each mirrored piece reflected and developed the other pieces and the physical space around them. Space as a mental reality is a linguistic syntagma, while as a physical reality here it was a flattened

  • Alighiero Boetti

    In the mid ’60s, Alighiero Boetti began an outstanding artistic career, one that would enhance most of the determining aspects of contemporary art. A most peculiar figure, Boetti doesn’t belong to any of the art mainstreams of the last twenty years, even if, in a certain manner, his work is a necessary part of each. To start with, Boetti’s role in the adventure of arte povera was organic; his work also relates directly to post-Minimalism, process art, performance, and mail art. Predominantly, it is a series of mental elaborations specifying possible issues for a most imaginative reconceptualization

  • Jan Vercruysse

    Jan Vercruysse is one of Belgium’s most distinguished artists. In his works as in his biography, the artistic concerns of the ’70s and the ’80s are joined in a very personal way A natural heir to Marcel Broodthaers (whom he happened to befriend), Vercruysse is not in the least derivative in his work. On a formal level, his art seems to deal with architecture and sculpture as constructive/deconstructive processes or units. This may be the reason for its superficial for-mal affiliations with the sculpture of some younger German and French artists. Once the specificity of his work is recognized,

  • Liberations: The Minus Works of Michelangelo Pistoletto

    I believe that if I act according to the dimension of time,

    it will be difficult for others to catch me in the exact spot

    where they are lying in wait.


    —Michelangelo Pistoletto, 1966

    IN MODERN TIMES, MANY ARTISTS have followed a single track, a common overall look to their work, for twenty or thirty years, while others have developed an internal structure and attitude that unite quite different pieces within a homogenous mental space. The first kind of artist makes works that we immediately identify with a certain gaze, or way of looking; the second, works that we identify with a particular mind.

  • Emmanuel Pereire

    Emmanuel Pereire’s work was first shown during the early ’60s in Paris, accompanied by a catalogue essay by Roland Barthes. Although he is a French artist, his work is better known in the United States; this recent exhibition of four large works was Pereire’s first show in his own country in 13 years. Nine years ago at a New York show at the Clocktower, his work was called “bad painting”—then a term used for the reaction against puritan formalist painting. Nothing of the kind could be said of his recent work. Painted on large black pieces of clothlike paper, human silhouettes or body parts seem

  • Jannis Kounellis

    The monumental hall of Bordeaux’s Musée d’Art Contemporain, a plain stone building constructed in 1824 as a warehouse for spices and coffee, ismore than 80 feet high and measures more than 21,500 square feet in area. Jannis Kounellis’ show, held in this spectacular space, demonstrated both the historical origins of his work and what his current art, at its highest level, can achieve.

    Beyond any superficial theatricality or rhetoric, Kounellis’ use of the architectural space in this installation was at once organically integrated and structurally camouflaged. Raw materials such as stone, wood,

  • THE WORLD AND ITS TRADITIONS OR THE TRADITION OF THE WORLD

    WHEN THE IDEA OF ART and of its relationship to the larger world is discussed, it most often finds form in universal concepts. In such discussions geography is sometimes seen in relation to a single historical lineage, for example the metaphysic that associates light with truth in the history of Northern European Romanticism, as posited by Robert Rosenblum in his book Modern Painting and the Northern Romantic Tradition (1975); the January 1985 issue of Artforum took a different approach, expounding a trinitary grouping of diversified ensembles of work within a political geography of North, South,

  • Nouvelle Biennale de Paris

    The “New Paris Biennale” was an other attempt to create a monumental international-art event and thereby to reinstate France as a patron in the field of visual arts. It differed from the Biennale des Jeunes, which presented an extensive inventory of new artists and expressions from the mid ’60s to the mid ’70s, in its focus on the consecrated values and familiar products of the mainstream. In this way, the Nouvelle Biennale conformed to the trend that would make an exhibitions more like the Helsinki Conference, full of pomp and circumstance.

    The positive side of such a show is the government’s

  • Bazile-Bustamante

    Lately I’ve had a good feeling on entering certain shows—I’ve had to wonder what they’ve been about, what’s been standing there, what the point of the display might have been and what the reasons behind it. The Bazile-Bustamante show gave me this feeling, a feeling that the viewer, without being deceived by the work, has lost the points of reference one usually possesses on entering a gallery. An original Sonia Delaunay carpet lay on the floor, partly covering two lit fluorescent light tubes; on the carpet rested iron plates arranged in the silhouette of two chairs and a table. Facing this a

  • Mario Merz

    In a small village in Burgundy a Mario Merz show looks no less important than in New York, but it certainly looks different. Merz has always pushed the constructions of his mind to respond emotively to their surround. One would be tempted to consider this show an Impressionist moment in his art if Merz hadn’t long ago protected his work against this kind of journalistic argument. A Burgundian fall, a trip in the country, a journey by paths and fields, a sunny walk over a river, a colorful fruit market before a church—if these are privileged images for the Impressionist painter, for Merz they

  • Justen Ladda

    This show was not only Justen Ladda’s first in Europe, but also his first in a private gallery. Those interested by his somehow mythic installations in the South Bronx, in 1981, and at the “Times Square Show,” in 1980, had long been waiting for him to make a European appearance, but his decision to exhibit in a gallery was a surprise. The works displayed were at least as imaginative and rich as Ladda’s previous pieces.

    Since the classical Greeks, images have been considered as “shadows” of the real; Ladda gives the illusionistic transparency of the image the opacity of a shadow cast by a physical