Lillian Davies

  • Christine Rebet

    Christine Rebet’s animated film The Square, 2011, glowed in a small darkened room. Like all of the artist’s films (each just minutes long), this work is formed from thousands of hand-prepared still images, shot in 16 or 35 mm and thrust into movement. The Square invokes Samuel Beckett’s 1981 television piece Quad, echoing the synchronized footsteps of Quad’s four dancers and the palette of their hooded costumes. With hand-laid trails of powdered wood, metal, plaster, and clay, Rebet’s work traces the agonies of confinement and incarceration, while alluding to the simple, ennobling act of the

  • picks June 15, 2020

    Lawrence Abu Hamdan and Saâdane Afif

    Though they are silent, the recent works by Lawrence Abu Hamdan and Saâdane Afif on view here are all about sound. On the gallery’s ground floor, Hamdan’s Earwitness Inventory, 2018–19, places some ninety-five objects, both found and designed, on warehouse shelving in an installation that draws from legal testimony and historical disasters to capture the complex nature of sonic memories. The contents, which could stock a Foley artist’s library, include stilettos, boxing gloves, a watermelon, celery stalks, frog guiros, plastic soda bottles, and a popcorn popper; Earwitness Inventory (Animated

  • Caroline Wells Chandler

    About ten years ago, Caroline Wells Chandler was living in East Texas next door to his aging grandparents. The New York–based artist, who identifies as a “fluid non-binary transgender boi,” remembers feeling guilty about “ditching them” to work on a group of large-scale paintings he was then producing, and so, armed with balls of colored yarn purchased at Michaels, he started to crochet, which allowed him to hang out with the couple while working. Chandler continues to use a variation on the slip stitch to make exuberant hand-crocheted “drawings,” twelve of which were stapled to the gallery

  • Marie Losier

    Faithful to her windup 16-mm Bolex, Marie Losier takes cues from the experimental filmmakers of New York, where she was based for two decades. Since returning two years ago to Paris—where Georges Méliès, another important influence for Losier, realized his pioneering work in silent film and special effects—she has begun to move her cinematic work to the exhibition space, presenting her films inside crafted carpentry and together with drawings, sculptures, and installations. “I wanted to make boxes for my films,” she explained, “like in the early days of cinema, with all of the rotoscopes, the

  • Thu Van Tran

    In the 1960s, the US military launched a program called Operation Trail Dust. A tactical maneuver against the Vietcong, the effort involved the destruction of South Vietnamese forests and farmland using so-called rainbow herbicides: Agents Green, Pink, Purple, Blue, White, and, most famously, Orange, manufactured by Monsanto and Dow Chemical. “These rainbow colors,” Thu Van Tran explains, “and the semantic treachery of their nomenclature have stained my mental space.” For her drawings from the 2012– series “Rainbow Herbicides”—four of which (all works cited, 2019) appeared in her recent show “

  • picks February 15, 2020

    Fiona Rae

    For the first time since she participated in Damien Hirst’s legendary 1988 “Freeze” survey, Fiona Rae is painting on white grounds. She is categorical about this show’s large-scale works, which were made last year and executed with oil on pearly, luminous acrylic-primed canvases. Whereas Rae’s titles can sometimes wax lyrical, these pictures are all Abstract and numbered chronologically. Adopting a new process, Rae began on sheets of paper—Hahnemühle’s bright white, “the clearest starting point,” she told me—drawing in gouache and aquarelle (five are displayed here) to map out the composition

  • picks November 25, 2019

    Barbara Hepworth

    Barbara Hepworth (1903–1975), Dame of the British Empire, sculptor of Single Form, which sits serenely before the United Nations building in Manhattan, has finally been given a monographic exhibition in France. Despite their grace, her sculptures in stone and dense tropical woods are indeed heavy and not easy to ship, though they have been shown several times at the Musée Rodin, beginning in the late 1950s. When invited to contribute to the second edition of the “Exposition internationale de sculpture contemporain,” in 1961, Hepworth presented Torso I (Ulysses), 1958, which is now back in Paris

  • picks October 14, 2019

    Lauren Coullard

    “My work is not in the new, but in reworking history,” Lauren Coullard recently told me at her studio at DOC, the artist residency she cofounded in an abandoned high school building in Paris’s nineteenth arrondissement last year. She also spoke about her painting practice as dealing with “something between the sacred and the profane,” and referenced Donna Haraway’s “A Cyborg Manifesto,” describing an interest in “hybridity between man and woman, animal and artifice.”

    For this solo exhibition in Paris, Coullard borrowed the title and premise of Isaac Asimov’s 1941 science- fiction novella Nightfall

  • Behjat Sadr

    In Le temps suspendu (Time Suspended), Mitra Farahani’s 2006 documentary on the Iranian painter Behjat Sadr, the artist explains that “in painting, you suspend time.” Sadr passed away ten years ago at the age of eighty-five, but in this exhibition, her decades-long practice crystallized in nine oil paintings (one supported by steel struts running from floor to ceiling), seven collages, and four photographs. Her canvases often read as abstractions, but they are squarely grounded in the real: in the materiality of the varied surfaces and the viscosity of oil paint.

    As an art student in Italy in

  • Ketuta Alexi-Meskhishvili

    Ketuta Alexi-Meskhishvili is after “the sensation of losing boundaries.” This feeling emerges, she explains, in the experience of being a new mother: “when you have a newborn and are breastfeeding and your outlines become unstable and it is hard to say where you end and where the world begins.” This state also informs Alexi-Meskhishvili’s relationship to photography. She has, for instance, devised a process in which the limits between photographic media fade: She begins with 4 x 5" negatives and ends with sharp, color-rich, digitally manipulated archival prints. Likewise, her work dissolves

  • Gina Pane

    In 1963, Gina Pane (1939–1990) graduated from Paris’s École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, where she studied painting and lithography, and quickly became a player in the city’s art scene. This exhibition, “Terre protégée” (Protected Earth), curated by Emma-Charlotte Gobry-Laurencin, featured two paintings from this time, Untitled (no 20), 1962–65, and Untitled (no 31), 1962–67, both modestly sized, portrait-oriented works in oil on canvas. Composed of sharp vertical bands or triangles of bold contrasting colors, separated by paler shades or stripes of white, these works, according to

  • Lucia Laguna

    The Brazilian painter Lucia Laguna was once a language teacher. She brings her knowledge of linguistics to the practice of painting, developing the medium’s discursive potential. Her studio, tucked into the hills above Rio de Janeiro, is home to the visual lexicon she deploys in her paintings, her dictionary of images. Laguna has developed a form of conversational collaboration with her studio assistants. Following discussions of subject and color, her collaborators paint the first layer of each small- or large-scale oil or acrylic canvas so that Laguna may formally reply. Davi Baltar and Claudio

  • Santiago de Paoli

    If the first noun in “Peintures et Hotline” (the title of Santiago de Paoli’s first solo exhibition in France) announced the paintings on view, the second referred to a binder of erotic drawings, undisplayed but available for viewing on request. The twenty-one oil paintings—variously on felt, wood, plaster, and ceramic—hung at different heights on the gallery’s white Sheetrock and exposed-masonry perimeter, save for two, Chaussettes à centre libre (Free Center Socks), 2018, which was set leaning against a wall, partially propped up by a stained cork, and Here you are, 2018, which lay

  • “The Oil of Pardis”

    Organized by Hormoz Hematian, founder of Tehran’s Dastan Gallery and Dastan’s Basement, “The Oil of Pardis” drew from a rich vein of modern and contemporary painting in Iran. The title revealed a love for the country (pardis is Persian for “paradise”) and referred to both Iran’s petroleum industry and the chosen medium of many of the artists exhibited here. Sam Samiee, however, works in acrylic. The youngest of this multigenerational group of artists, Samiee contributed Mithra the Crucifier, Cyclonopedia, 2018, a work that combines images of carbon-fuels infrastructure with Zoroastrian symbolism.

  • Li Shurui

    For this exhibition, Li Shurui’s debut solo presentation in Europe, the artist presented ten new paintings and a video, the roughly twenty-four-minute Marriage Certificate, 2018. Her first work in this medium—made with her husband, the musician Li Daiguo—the video weaves together the physical and emotional material of the couple’s relationship with flashes of their creative production. The eight paintings comprising The moment before evaporation, Me Nos. 15 and The moment before evaporation, You Nos. 13, all 2018, were displayed in level rows across large sheets of paper painted with

  • Younès Rahmoun

    Hijra,” the title of Younès Rahmoun’s most recent exhibition, refers to the departure, in the year 622, of the Prophet Muhammad and his followers from Mecca to Yathrib, the pre-Islamic name of Medina. Hijra—the word means “migration” in Arabic—is an act of faith, an act that looks toward the future. “I think that traveling is a true gift,” the artist said in an interview with curator Jérôme Sans, “whether it is an inner journey or a journey toward the other.” Rahmoun draws strongly on the traditions of Islam in his work, particularly Sufi philosophy. However, it is not only the presence

  • Olympe Racana-Weiler

    Olympe Racana-Weiler announces a gut craving, a physical manifestation of desire and ambition, in the title of her first solo exhibition, “I came back from paradise and I’m frankly hungry.” The phrase also alludes to a return from another realm, a passage that might be a kind of metamorphosis, evocative of Ovid’s compendium of transformation myths. In a published conversation with Jim Dine, with whom she works as a studio assistant, Racana-Weiler tells of her own metamorphosis into a painter, and cites the ancient text. In this context, Racana-Weiler also speaks briefly about dancing as a child.

  • Alex Cecchetti

    An ending is a boundary, a limit. But do all stories end? Alex Cecchetti’s exhibition “Tamam Shud,” part of a larger project including a novel and performances, takes its name from the story of a man found dead on a beach in southern Australia seventy years ago. The body was never identified, and his pocket contained only a scrap of paper that read, “Tamám shud,” an Old Persian phrase meaning, “It is the end.” It may have been torn from the last page of the Rubáiyát of the twelfth-century poet Omar Khayyám. That’s the story Cecchetti tells. He also tells the tale that he himself has died.


  • Ida Ekblad

    For years, objects recovered from the streets and sidewalks surrounding the places where Ida Ekblad produces and exhibits her work have found their way into her oeuvre. Here in Paris, her work also opens itself to the perhaps more ephemeral attributes of a certain local form of femininity. In this gallery on the rue du Temple, one found an alluring, exuberant group of six paintings and three sculptures—works sprung from Ekblad’s poem “Step Motherfucker,” the title of which was also the show title. The artist’s rhythmic lines picture a phantasmagoric woman: “She worked in a small art


    THERE ISN’T A CLOUD IN THE SKY at the beginning of Enrique Ramírez’s video Brises (Breezes), 2008, but the gray-suited actor in the opening shot is drenched, water dripping from his fingertips. The young man walks toward Santiago’s Palacio de la Moneda, the official seat of the Chilean president. He passes two fountains before entering the silent monument, his pace unrelenting. Visitors are meant to exit from the palace onto the Plaza de la Ciudadanía, but the actor pointedly heads in the other, “forbidden” direction. The site itself, where Salvador Allende’s life ended during the 1973 military