Emily Verla Bovino

  • picks May 21, 2010

    Markus Selg

    A jute curtain opens onto tenebrous rooms where artist Markus Selg maps the origins of aesthetic experience in a mythopoesis of the hero and the artist. Digital prints, sculpture, film, sound, and lighting combine in a contemporary pleorama, or “floating” panorama, which leads the viewer through a neo-Romantic landscape—from pigment, piezo, and sublimation prints posing as carpets, woodcuts, and paintings to reinterpretations of Caspar David Friedrich’s icy sublime in the Krkonoše Mountains.

    Projected before a diorama of hillsides ablaze, Schicksal (Destiny), 2010, is the artist’s first film: A

  • picks February 25, 2010

    Eva Kotátková

    In Eva Kotátková’s exhibition “Controlled Memory Loss,” the Prague-based artist uses maquettes, photographs, drawings, videos, and staged performances to plan and document domestic experiments in which individuals attempt their own reeducation through dysfunctional do-it-yourself craft projects and Situationist dérive. Black-latticed vertical panels and stacked parallelepiped modules transform the gallery into a familiar psychogeography, recalling the prefab high rises, or paneláky, in the Czech Republic, which huddle in the suburbs around the rocky hillside of Hradčany, Prague’s district of

  • picks June 30, 2009

    “Hypnos, the Image and the Unconscious in Europe 1900–1949”

    Part of the initiative Lille3000–Europe XXL, “Hypnos, the Image and the Unconscious in Europe 1900–1949” provides the most thorough presentation of its subject to date. The exhibition is hosted off-site at the Hospice La Comtesse, a medieval hospital in Lille’s historic center, whose chapel and vast infirmary, flush with an aura between death and dream, exude a tension similarly captured by the works displayed. In addition to oft-cited masterworks including Louis Darget’s Photographie fludique de la pensée (Fluid Photographs of Thought), 1896, Emma Kunz’s pendulum drawings, Fritz Lang’s Dr.

  • picks June 15, 2009

    Maria Loboda

    In Maria Loboda’s exhibition, objects are not displayed but arranged to dwell, recalling the “conversational” textures and devices with which Joseph Haydn revolutionized eighteenth-century chamber music. A shock of torn paper pieces on the ground curl into S shapes. Horizontal and vertical bands in washed-out yellows and grays extend from floor to ceiling, forming monumental letters T and F. Strips of mahogany curve to create an arch in the doorway and a linear bulge that extends from the top of a supporting column: Is it a P or D? Or a U, C, or N? A gaping O is burned into a framed print, and

  • picks March 28, 2009

    Anders Lutz and Anders Guggisberg

    A glance at Anders Lutz and Anders Guggisberg’s vast oeuvre might instinctively prompt a skeptical roll of the eyes and a quick dismissal of the artists as yet another Swiss duo bent on reiterating the refined clumsiness, childlike inquisitiveness, and carefree sense of humor canonized by Peter Fischli and David Weiss. Yet while Fischli and Weiss rigorously amass, archive, and ingeminate subjects of contemporary experience––from sausages to existential questions––Lutz and Guggisberg cultivate distraction through their compulsive study of haphazardly gathered stimuli; like archaeologists gone

  • picks February 06, 2009

    Mark Geffriaud

    Three screens in medium-density fiberboard fold into right, obtuse, and acute angles. These strategically placed constructions prompt the viewer to imagine iterations of the gallery’s corners, and evoke the ellipses and hyperboles of non-Euclidean geometry, galvanizing perception as they disorient. Inspired by mathematician Henrì Poincaré’s La Science et l’Hypothèse (Science and Hypothesis, 1902), artist Mark Geffriaud challenges popular conceptions of absolute space by confirming that no geometry is truer, just more convenient. His screens are not partitions, but conductors that lead into

  • picks January 12, 2009

    Kay Rosen, Koo Jeong-A

    In this gallery’s pairing of Kay Rosen and Koo Jeong-A, body and word are not fixed limits drawn to contain and control, but open architectures whose shifting centers of gravity reveal new ways of being and relating. In Rosen’s wall painting, the word scramble PNUUMLDE evokes physicality with the elicited pummeled and numb. As the viewer’s eyes swing from first to last letters, outside and then in, UM flits between the word’s middle and end, and the jumbled capitals recompose to spell PENDULUM (Pendulum, 2004). In Why Yes Yves, 1993, the V of YVES is painted in superscript to mirror the forked

  • picks December 23, 2008

    “Mexico: Expected/Unexpected"

    Geometry as “an instrument of awareness,” to quote Gabriel Orozco, and the tension intrinsic to its synthesis of the constructed and the organic, are the focal points of “Mexico: Expected/Unexpected,” which features works from Isabel and Agustín Coppel’s collection. Lygia Clark’s Constructivist Bicho, 1960, at first seems simply to be a three-dimensional play with fractals, but on closer examination it turns out to be a small beast with one wing outstretched, perched in limbo between the primordial and the futuristic. Loving or raping, resuscitating or violating, Ana Mendieta’s soft body presses

  • picks December 01, 2008

    Prinz Gholam

    Two actors pantomime an impassioned conflict. As engrossed spectators lean forward in anticipation, the performers suddenly freeze, their waving arms transformed into grand gestures of sublime stillness. A metaphor for Christianity’s absorption of the eternal by the mundane, this comic sketch is used by Kierkegaard in The Concept of Anxiety (1844) to oppose the retreat from temporality in ancient Greek sculpture’s blind petrifaction. In an anonymous Berlin lot, the duo Prinz Gholam (Wolfgang Prinz and Michel Gholam) shot FMCAeKD, 2008, a video of the artists holding various poses for extended

  • picks September 08, 2008

    “15th Quadriennale of Rome”

    THE 15TH QUADRIENNALE OF ROME IS AN IMPORTANT SHOW OF CONTEMPORARY ITALIAN ART. As a performative utterance, the stenciled declaration in the exhibition hall’s entrance is not simply “infelicitous,” as philosopher J. L. Austin would define it, but miserable. Unable to turn wishful thinking into reality, this introduction reads more like an ironic disclaimer to an overabundance of mediocre video, bad painting, and gimmicky installations. Is this really all that Italian art has to offer: the cool and the kitsch? No. Perhaps too many cooks spoil the broth. Though the curators—Lorenzo Canova, Bruno

  • picks August 01, 2008

    Marcel van Eeden and Flavio Favelli

    Like Marcel Van Eeden’s individual drawings, the narratives that emerge from his cycles and series are crosshatched tonal studies, created not through linear contours sliced into space, but in layered waves of light and dark. In Tempo (Time), 2008, works from the artist’s much-acclaimed “a-drawing-a-day” series face a group of oil paintings. In the drawings, Van Eeden builds a fictional visual archive of the years before his birth, manufacturing memories of the time before he existed in compositions of randomly selected though thoughtfully cropped found images. In the paintings, similarly

  • picks July 03, 2008

    Frederick Kiesler

    In looping curves and obsessive scribbles, the visionary architect Frederick Kiesler’s fluid line skitters from sheets creased with folds to lined notebook paper to thin cardboard, mapping a deliberate course between touch and vision, between the body and the outside world. Frameless and exhibited on a sinuous table designed specially by nARCHITECTURE, Kiesler’s drawings are presented as a stream of the interconnectedness, or “correalism,” that preoccupied the antifunctionalist architect. “Drafting is grafting vision on paper. . . . Blindfolded skating rather than designing,” Kiesler wrote in

  • picks June 22, 2008

    Vittorio Santoro

    The bright light from two fluorescent strips in the street-facing vitrines of Les Complices activates the silver nitrate foil installed by artist Vittorio Santoro, transforming the curved display windows into two-way mirrors. The gaze of the curious insider looking out is reflected; for the outsider looking in, the venue’s interior is veiled in a grayish tint that emphasizes his being at a remove. Two telescopic standing fans in the display windows are pointed toward the exhibition space, but the breeze they blow, blocked by another glass panel, is doomed to forever circulate the no-man’s-land

  • picks May 30, 2008

    Ahmet Ögüt and Aleana Egan

    Kunsthalle Basel director Adam Szymczyk, cocurator of this year’s Berlin Biennial, has juxtaposed solo exhibitions by two biennial participants, Aleana Egan and Ahmet Ögüt, setting up a compelling dialectic between Egan’s introspective empiricism and Ögüt’s outward-looking self-exploration. A yellow wire leads up the museum stairs, through the bookshop, and into the foyer, where Ögüt’s exhibition begins with a heap of dynamite sticks. Outside the building, in an adjacent plaza, the installation’s detonator box stands unassumingly in wait of a passerby to push its plunger. The coiling of inner

  • picks May 26, 2008

    Alexandre Singh

    The inescapable doom of the atavistic curse, the insanity induced by metaphysical revelation, and the deathly horror of ultimate truth are the central themes of artist Alexandre Singh’s “The Marque of the Third Stripe,” a fantastic biography of Adidas founder Adi Dassler written in the manner of H. P. Lovecraft’s gothic fables. The esoteric and antiquated lexicon of Singh’s Borgesian labyrinth swerves and zigzags through a time and space where Europe is the New World, modernist architecture has become ancient, and the characters’ identities—the Medician, the Athlete, the Priest, the Savage, the

  • picks May 09, 2008

    Nahum Tevet

    In Pages from a Catalogue (Cezanne), 1976, Israeli artist Nahum Tevet makes playful mockery of art-historical classifications by grouping paintings from a Paul Cézanne catalogue raisonné according to page location and then categorizing them based on size. This otherwise useless system serves no academic purpose but provides a formal and theoretical basis for Tevet’s own abstract composition of pencil lines traced on enamel-coated plywood like overlapping mathematical axes. The work is an ironic reference not only to art history’s sterile methodologies but to Minimalism and its reverence for the

  • picks April 29, 2008

    Christian Schönwälder

    In his exhibition “Unter Beobachtung” (Under Surveillance), Dresden-based artist Christian Schönwälder transfigures factory equipment and industrial containers into ritual vessels. The respective hopper and filter of Teiler (Divider; all works 2008) and Snoop still hold the residue-caked felts that were perhaps once used to extract a desired elixir from muddy sludge. Informed by the formal qualities of mundane objects, from construction-site apparatuses to shop canopies to street dumpsters, Schönwälder’s sculptures recast the routine as magic and mysterious. In Ohne Titel (Untitled), four stout

  • picks April 20, 2008

    Cristian Andersen

    In “Sideways in Reverse,” Cristian Andersen’s debut exhibition at the gallery, the Zurich-based artist feigns interest in what lies straight ahead, furtively shuffling backward for a better view of that which slips into and out of the periphery. His compositions are always “on the verge”: They are balancing acts that teeter-totter between “just right” and falling to pieces. In “Winners or Losers,” 2007–2008, Andersen casts small ceramic sculptures from assorted bric-a-brac: pieces of rope, dice, sponges, fake birds, and tin cans. The works memorialize the fine line between success and failure,

  • picks April 15, 2008

    “.za: Young Art from South Africa”

    Assailed by a series of saints, demons, and fairies who penetrate, kiss, and consume her, Elizabeth, protagonist of Bessie Head’s 1974 novel A Question of Power, is an allegory of South Africa’s own fractured self: activist and apathetic, pious and agnostic, black and white. It is this same commotion of the self in shambles, this “orchestral mess . . . or harmony,” as artist Dineo Bopape describes her work, that plays the overarching theme to “.za: Young Art from South Africa.”

    Withdrawing to an old town house in Brixton, Johannesburg-based artist Zander Blom makes and photographs installations

  • picks April 15, 2008

    “Greenwashing”

    “Cyclus Offset,” “KeayKolour Recycled May,” “Shiro Alga Carta”: A series of “all natural,” “ecological” papers color the catalogue for “Greenwashing” in a muted rainbow of earthy greens, yellows, and pinks. Designed by the exhibition’s curators—Ilaria Bonacossa and Latitudes’s Max Andrews and Mariana Cánepa Luna—the volume offers its own version of “green sheen.” Are the Fondazione and the organizers self-consciously engaging in the same banal posturing they set out to critique? Or do they see the printing of an art catalogue on recycled paper as a step in the direction of philosopher Félix