Riccardo Venturi

  • Bettina Samson, Ann Lee, 2019, glazed stoneware ceramic, 20 x 17 7/10 x 27 1/2".
    picks September 19, 2019

    Bettina Samson

    For her latest exhibition, “Hinkum Looby,” Bettina Samson debuts four sculptures made this year and inspired by the Shakers—that New England sect known as much for their ecstatic, church-rocking worship as for their minimalist furniture. These dual legacies live on in Samson’s stoneware objects: rough, twisty things perched on austere pine boxes and christened after various believers, from Ann Lee—a name familiar to anyone who’s seen Dan Graham’s Rock My Religion, 1983–84—to Emily Babcock, who the press release tells us was an “instrument” who received a “gift” from the spirits (the show’s title

  • View of “Naoki Sutter-Shudo,” 2018. Photo: Aurélien Mole.

    Naoki Sutter-Shudo

    English is Naoki Sutter-Shudo’s third language, following French and Japanese, which may help explain why the Los Angeles–based artist’s practice in painting and sculpture evinces such sensitivity for the interstices between one language and another, for those words that do not have precise correspondences in another idiom.This appreciation of nuance also informs the title of his recent exhibition, “Mœurs,” which refers, in French, to both customs and morals. And within the etymology of mœurs a sense of measurement and rule, of moderation and modesty, reverberates.

    In one of the works in the

  • Michele Spanghero, Vol., 2018, lacquered wood, loudspeakers, modified microphones, microphone stands, audio cables, audio system, sound, dimensions variable.

    Michele Spanghero

    Michele Spanghero’s Vol., 2018, is a minimalist sound installation created with a technique that the experimental composer Alvin Lucier developed. In I am sitting in a room, 1969, which has served as an inspiration to Spanghero, Lucier’s voice states from the outset the work’s rigorous protocol: The artist records his own voice in a space, then plays it back in that same space and rerecords it, repeating the process “again and again,” until the words become an indistinguishable amalgam of sound and, to a ghostly effect, end up being nothing more than frequencies of resonance. Edward Strickland

  • Dominique Blais, Coil, 2017, ink-jet print. Installation view. Photo: Frédéric Lanternier.

    Dominique Blais

    What tied together the works in Dominique Blais’s exhibition “La fin du contretemps”(Turning Off the Offbeat)—orchestrated more than installed in the space—was an irregular but precise rhythm encompassing both visual elements and sound. Rhythm, whether audible or visible—the two types do not necessarily go hand in hand for this artist—can mark time. Even the faintest sounds, or entirely inaudible ones, have this effect. In Morphée (Morpheus), 2018, an opaque sound-absorbing fabric covers what appears to be a harpsichord; we hear no sound, and it’s impossible to tell whether

  • Genieve Figgis, The Happy Accidents of the Swing (after Fragonard), 2018, acrylic on canvas, 47 1/4 x 39 3/8".

    Genieve Figgis

    Genieve Figgis’s painted tableaux often seem to present a dramatic event, like an operatic performance, but one whose coordinates can’t fully be discerned. The Irish painter’s characters, who adopt theatrical poses or stand in groups, as in a conversation piece, are well aware that they are on public display. Judging by their regal costumes—long, wide dressing gowns; tuxedoes; gaiters; elaborate headgear—their time is not our own. Moreover, they move about in spaces unlike ours. The paintings provide glimpses of frescoed ceilings, chandeliers with candles, gilded furniture with bouquets

  • View of “Petrit Halilaj,” 2017. Photo: Julie Joubert.

    Petrit Halilaj

    Wallpaper composed of the pages of ABETARE, an Albanian spelling book, was arranged in a grid over the two long walls of the Kamel Mennour gallery’s first room. At one time, such books were tools of resistance: In 1998, when Petrit Halilaj, age twelve, fled Kosovo to take refuge in Albania, the Serbian government was forcing people to speak Serbo-Croatian and forbidding them to learn Albanian. Each page of the book not only depicts an individual letter but also accompanies it with stereotypical representations of Albanian usage and customs. 

    A metal butterfly affixed to the wall pointed visitors

  • Haegue Yang, The Intermediate—Antenna Basket on Rings, 2017, artificial straw, powder-coated stainless steel, steel wire, artificial plants, TV antennae, 70 7/8 x 31 1/2 x 31 1/2". From the series “The Intermediates,” 2015–.

    Haegue Yang

    The themes that Haegue Yang investigates in her recent work—the sixth sense, grafts between the natural and technological realms—are always seen as in process. In the end she leaves her own thoughts regarding them unresolved, as signaled by her recurrent use of the adverb quasi in titles of works and shows over the past decade or so: Quasi-MB, 2006–2007, and “Quasi—Pagan Minimal” and “Quasi- Pagan Modern” (both 2016). This prefix indicates the incomplete attainment of a condition, a property, or an identity, suggesting that the status of the work is suspended and calling attention

  • Pascal Convert, Falaise de Bâmiyân (Bamiyan’s Cliffs) (detail), 2017, fifteen platinum palladium prints, each 65 3/8 × 43 1/4".

    Pascal Convert

    In March 2016, the French ambassador to Afghanistan invited Pascal Convert to the city of Bamiyan, site of the destruction of the great Buddha sculptures fifteen years earlier—six months before the attack on the Twin Towers. In deploying dynamite against these monumental statues, Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar did not only desecrate religious idols, he also attacked the cultural patrimony of Afghanistan. Though Bamiyan—long a crossroads of Zoroastrianism, Islam, and Buddhism on the Silk Road—has not been a site of pilgrimage or worship for centuries, and though there are no

  • David Tudor, Rainforest V (Variation 2), 1973/2015, mixed media. Installation view. From the 14th Biennale de Lyon. Photo: Blaise Adilon.

    Biennale de Lyon

    Like the previous thirteen Biennale de Lyon exhibitions, the 2017 show, curated by Emma Lavigne, is also characterized by an open dialogue with the history of art and with earlier editions. It is also part of a broader thematic exploration that will unfold over several years. At the behest of Thierry Raspail, the biennial’s artistic director, “Floating Worlds” is the second part of a trilogy of exhibitions on the notion of modernity, whose first iteration was Ralph Rugoff’s “Modern Life” two years ago, and whose finale will take place in 2019.

    “Floating Worlds” abounds with hemispherical structures,

  • Massinissa Selmani, Entre le ciel et moi #2 (Between the Sky and Me #2), 2017, graphite and colored pencil on paper, 41 1/2 x 31 1/2". From the series “Entre le ciel et moi,” 2017.

    Massinissa Selmani

    For his exhibition “Les choses que vous faites m’entourent” (The Things You Do Surround Me), Massinissa Selmani presented drawings from four series created over the past three years. A sense of suspension and disorientation hovers over these works. Clearly, the artist has learned the Surrealists’ lessons about the hidden subversive power in the most ordinary things, and about art’s potential to break open even the toughest outer skin of reality. One strategy, which Selmani uses in the “Promesses” (Promises) series, 2017, is juxtaposition, in which the artist combines two everyday scenes in order

  • Cécile Beau, Albédo 0,60, 2017, frigorific system, copper, water, Chinese ink, polyethylene tub, 60 x 60".

    Cécile Beau

    If the artistic world of Cécile Beau (who is originally from a cave-studded part of the Pyrenees) feels extremely remote from the human, it is nonetheless imbued with a sense of life. Featuring materials such as air, water, rock, tree bark, and charcoal, her work has an elemental character. As seen in her recent exhibition “Lithique” (Lithic), it amounts to what she calls a “science-fiction povera.”

    In the sculpture Albédo 0,60, 2017, viewers found a round vessel filled with a black liquid and a milky substance floating in the middle of it. This fluid is, in fact, a solution of water and Chinese

  • Abraham Poincheval, Pierre (Stone), 2017, limestone performance object on steel plate. Installation view. Photo: Aurélien Mole.

    Abraham Poincheval

    Living within a sculpture, becoming one with it as an object: This is the obsession of Abraham Poincheval, who, like a character in a Werner Herzog film, is an explorer of extremes. For Ours (Bear), 2014, at the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature in Paris, he enclosed himself inside the carcass of a bear, remaining there for thirteen days. More recently, Poincheval has hatched eggs, sitting like a hen for a three-week incubation period (allowing himself a half-hour break every day), inside a transparent display case with a temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, covered with a traditional Korean