Diana Baldon

  • Ryan Gander

    “There exists only one definition for everything, everywhere at any one time”: So reads the inscription disguised as a mathematical equation and engraved on Didactease, 2006, a Tiffanys sterling-silver coin discreetly worn as a pendant by a gallery assistant at Ryan Gander’s recent show, “Heralded as the New Black.” The assistant also wore a white Adidas tracksuit with embroidery resembling bloodstains, suggesting an injury despite the unmistakable decorative effect of the embroidered pattern. Both works initiate various routes of meaning depending on how and when they are experienced, exemplifying

  • picks September 25, 2008

    Hans Schabus

    How does an artist disappoint the public? This question underlies Hans Schabus’s latest exhibition, which may appear an act of deliberate provocation directed at the Austrian artist’s devotees. Rather than his typically monumental, uncanny interventions that dislocate his spectators’ imaginations, a few puzzling small objects confront viewers, undermining the standard perceptions of Schabus’s practice.

    Übrig geblieben (Welt) (Leftovers [World]; all works 2008), a wall piece consisting of six black containers holding stamps placed with their back sides to the viewer, evokes concealment, incompleteness,

  • picks September 16, 2008

    Jeff McMillan

    Jeff McMillan is not a typical painter. In many ways, he is not a painter at all. For his first solo exhibition in Austria, the US-born, London-based artist presents a series of small-scale figurative paintings found in thrift stores and antiques markets around the world that he has dipped, literally, into a pool of oil paint. What persuades about this simple act is the precision with which the artist has decided to stop immersing the canvases in his large basins filled with bright pigment. In each painting, a wall of intense color rises or drops (depending on the orientation) to a quarter, a

  • Hans Schabus

    The Curve gallery in the Barbican—one of London’s major performing-arts centers, located in a landmark Brutalist housing complex built between 1965 and 1976 on a thirty-five-acre site destroyed by bombing in World War II—is notorious for its awkward ninety-yard-long semi-circular shape, which curves around the back of the stage of the center’s main concert hall as a sound buffer. Hans Schabus, an artist perhaps best known for having surprised visitors at the 2005 Venice Biennale by radically transforming the Austrian pavilion into a large-scale replica of a mountain peak, was an inspired

  • Nedko Solakov

    Above a desk stained by black and white ink, a pair of hands is glimpsed in a moment of intimacy, in the act of writing on a sheet of immaculate white paper. It is immediately apparent that this photograph, used by Nedko Solakov for the announcement of his latest solo exhibition in Italy, represents a peek into his studio and thus into his mind: He feels, we read on the card as well as in a longer text handwritten on a wall of the gallery, like a “container-creature” able to assume multiple artistic identities. Solakov trained in mural painting, and his practice can be perceived as responding

  • the 1st Athens Biennial

    “THE MINDLESSNESS OF POWER sometimes creates a memory from what was meant to be amnesia,” Chris Marker observes in Inner Time of Television, 2007, the words appearing on a wall above a bank of video monitors as part of an installation made by the London-based Otolith Group in collaboration with the French filmmaker—and put on view in this past fall’s First Athens Biennial. Appropriately enough, given the setting, the work is centered on Marker’s Owl’s Legacy, 1989, a little-known television series (never before screened in Greece) consisting of interviews with some forty intellectuals—including

  • Deborah Ligorio

    “The audacity of modernity has trained us to challenge the double vertigo of abyss and sky at the same time.” This is not a passage from a Futurist manifesto but the voice-over from an old TV documentary on Mt. Vesuvius, which is incorporated into Italian artist Deborah Ligorio’s latest video, Il Sonno (Sleep; all works 2007). Excavated from Italy’s largest cinematographic archive, the Luce Institute, the clip mixes the crackling noises of radio broadcasts and the mesmerizing sounds of a psychedelic score. The extracts accompany aerial sequences shot in flight during a journey that starts at

  • Tobias Rehberger

    SINCE THE BEGINNING of his career, German artist Tobias Rehberger has made the creative input of others integral to his practice. He has constructed living-room-like spaces based on his friends’ notes and sketches for a “relaxed and meditative environment” (for the project Fragments of Their Pleasant Spaces [In My Fashionable Version], realized first in 1996 and again in 1999); once he even arranged for craftsmen in Thailand to make full-size, functional versions of high-end cars on the basis only of rough pencil sketches he provided (Nana, 2000). More recently, Rehberger built a thirty-six-foot-long

  • picks February 22, 2006

    Pablo Bronstein

    For his first solo exhibition, Pablo Bronstein unites architectural extremes, synthesizing historic styles from the vernacular architecture of the 1980s to those of the internationalist eighteenth-century Enlightenment. The main space features an intervention in the gallery wall—Doorway in the Style of James Stirling, 2006—that exposes the girders and makes a tall portico reminiscent of a frou-frou pseudo-classicist architecture of the early ’80s. Accompanying this work is a series of drawings that play with a range of architectural methods and concerns, from the proposal sketch to

  • picks January 25, 2006

    David Spero

    In recent years British photographer David Spero has visited communities spread among the forests of the British countryside in which houses and communal spaces—built with natural and often recycled materials locally sourced, make use of renewable energy sources. His new series “Settlements” presents portraits of these dwellings designed with a great respect for nature. He seems to deliberately have chosen moments of idleness and mimetic symbiosis between humans and their environment to best capture ideas about sustainability, independence, and an intuitive understanding of nature’s rhythms.

  • picks January 19, 2006

    “Open-Ended”

    This group exhibition brings together three artists whose Conceptual practices are marked by ephemeral gestures enacted upon everyday objects and by interventions into overly familiar situations. Pierre Bismuth’s Newspaper: Heavenly Harmony. The Irish Times, Thursday 12 August 1999 consists of two identical images coupled on the front page of a newspaper. On the other hand, Gabriel Kuri uses newspapers to wrap avocados placed in a bowl (The Recurrence of the Sublime, 2003) or as boards on which to stick products’ price labels. A closer inspection of the former work reveals that Kuri’s newspaper

  • picks January 12, 2006

    Yevgeniy Fiks

    Russia-born, New York–based artist Yevgeniy Fiks’s first solo exhibition at this gallery centers on Hollywood movies produced during WWII that, depicting popular(ist) images of life in Soviet Russia, were meant to improve the American public’s opinion of the wartime ally against Germany—or so Franklin D. Roosevelt hoped. Fiks’s “Songs of Russia” paintings capture key moments in films like The North Star and Mission to Moscow with a quick, Photorealist style that recalls socialist realist painting. The imprimatur of ’40s Hollywood is likewise evident in the works’ richly variant black-and-white

  • picks October 04, 2005

    Wolfgang Tillmans

    Coinciding with the publication of his monograph truth study center, Wolfgang Tillmans’s most recent works continue to explore his usual themes: togetherness, views from above, still lifes, cameraless photography, and the phenomenology of the medium. In the downstairs gallery, excessively magnified and scaled-up images of his former series Freischwimmer present giant, red, opaque surfaces reminiscent of color field painting. The grandeur of their size is counterbalanced by the more casual approach of the pictures upstairs. There, new and older photographs (most of which can be found in the new

  • picks June 03, 2005

    Elisabeth Penker

    For the past few years, Austrian artist Elisabeth Penker has been exploring the spatial dynamics that occur in the relation between objects and sound. In her solo show at this not-for-profit space consecrated to “technologically termed praxis,” she investigates rhythm and musicality by rearranging phonetic units in a process inspired by First Nation languages. With the multichannel sound installation Die Bildhauerin (The Sculptress), 2005, the artist breaks the grammatical structure of the title words into units, or “morphemes,” which become the basis of a minimal composition that resonates in

  • picks March 10, 2005

    Pavel Pepperstein

    Allegory sets the pace for Pavel Pepperstein’s second exhibition at London’s Sutton Lane. The newest watercolors by the Russian artist, writer, and theorist—who in the late ‘80s cofounded the collective Inspectorate of Medical Hermeneutics with Ilya Kabakov—center on the mythical figure of the knight. For the artist, this figure becomes an idealized subject, represented here in the guise of revolutionary Soviet soldiers, fearful Crusaders, or Zapatistas holding monochrome flags and traveling through no man’s lands, occasionally followed by a hirsute, menacing dog. Bringing together the

  • picks February 18, 2005

    Chris Evans

    The works in Chris Evans’s solo exhibition—curated by Maxine Kopsa for this new Amsterdam gallery—investigate masculine aspirations through the consolidation of power. In one, six members of Rotterdam's student club the Hermes Society proudly stand in front of a painting purchased from the artist that illustrates a pair of extinguished candles, the historic symbol of this college “superclass” whose alumni occupy elite positions in Dutch society. The airbrush painting Magnetic Promenade, 2004—a depiction of tall, steely-looking sculptures in an empty landscape—moves further up the career