Yuki Higashino

  • Florian Pumhösl, Kanal Abschmilt VII (Canal Section VII), 2017, anticorrosive paint on galvanized sheet steel, 86 5/8 × 30 3/8 × 2".

    Florian Pumhösl

    Karl Marx argued in the Grundrisse (1857–58) that it is impossible to grasp the complexity of the world with an abstract concept. An idea is merely a starting point, which must be fleshed out through “the method of rising from the abstract to the concrete.” When applied to the aesthetic realm, this fundamentally anti-Platonic conception of abstraction runs counter to the idea that artists reach abstract forms via distillation, the process Theo van Doesburg famously illustrated with his 1917 abstraction of a cow. But if abstraction is a starting point and not a goal, the separation of the abstract

  • Galerie Crone Vienna, View of “Elfie Semotan and Michel Würthle,” 2017.
    picks July 11, 2017

    Elfie Semotan and Michel Würthle

    Spread between two venues, this dual exhibition is an exercise in dialogue and friendship between two artists who have known each other for decades. It is also an experiment in installation. While the presentation at Gabriele Senn Galerie is classical and precise, in effect staging Elfie Semotan’s and Michel Würthle’s work as two solo shows on separate floors, the exhibition at Galerie Crone has a much freer hanging, with Semotan’s and Würthle’s pieces cohabiting on the same walls. These starkly different approaches delightfully complement each other, creating a rich and coherent whole.

    Semotan’s

  • Mangelos (Dimitrije Bašicević), Spread from Jahrensbuch, ca. 1970, tempera on paper, bound in plastic hardcover, 11 x 8".
    picks April 03, 2017

    Mangelos

    Trained in art history and philosophy, and known as an influential critic and curator in what was then Communist Zagreb, Mangelos (a pseudonym of the late Dimitrije Bašičević) offers a distinct approach to language as an aesthetic material. Unlike his Conceptualist contemporaries in the West, who came to this subject as the logical conclusion of modernist reduction and dematerialization, the artist adapted painted and drawn words in different languages as a way to extend his philosophical reflections into the material world, a physical counterpart to abstract thinking. His practice was essentially

  • Ian Hamilton Finlay with Gary Hincks, Both the Garden Style . . .,1987, lithograph, 19 x 12''.
    picks March 03, 2017

    Ian Hamilton Finlay

    These works about the French Revolution by the late Scottish artist Ian Hamilton Finlay have subtle and eerie resonance with our time. Finlay’s main concern was to grasp the historical transition from idealism and excitement to catastrophe, the instant just before the rupture (in this case, the Reign of Terror). A tense moment to be sure, yet Finlay’s graceful humor never allows the works to be didactic or lugubrious.

    This apprehension is captured particularly well in Both the Garden Style . . ., 1987, a modest and elegant lithograph that shows a guillotine covered with flowers. The caption under

  • View of “Walter Pichler: Radical: Architecture & Prototypes,” 2016.
    picks January 23, 2017

    Walter Pichler

    This retrospective of Walter Pichler’s work makes it clear that he remains profoundly influential, both in his native Austria and beyond. Simultaneously working in sculpture, architecture, graphic design, furniture, industrial design, drawing, and occasionally writing, he liberally blurred the disciplinary boundaries between these fields and heralded an expanded notion of what an artist might be.

    Take, for instance, Table for Oswald and Ingrid (Prototype 8), 1967. It is purportedly a dining table for two, with inflatable legs and a plastic top with indentations that are meant to function as

  • Viola Gråsten, Oomph, 1952, fabric, dimensions variable.
    picks August 15, 2016

    “Oomph”

    The phrase “Swedish design” usually conjures a range of hugely popular stylistic conventions rather than works by individual designers. Therefore, this show’s effort to locate the emergence of the style in its original context between the 1930s and the 1960s, while highlighting the vital roles played by female designers, is helpful toward gaining deeper insight into one of the most dominant influences in our built environment today.

    The exhibition successfully strikes the right balance between being seductive and informative. The irresistibly appealing design objects are expertly displayed, while

  • Dorit Margreiter, Experimental Noise (No.9), 2015, iris print on aluminum, 59 x 44''.
    picks June 17, 2016

    Dorit Margreiter

    As implied by its title, “Neue Räume” (New Spaces) is the first show to take place in this newly refurbished space. Moreover, it is the first exhibition of Dorit Margreiter’s work at the gallery. These simple conditions led the artist to conclude that this blank slate is an artistic equivalent to that of a frontier, therefore requiring her to revisit the history of the Western genre. The result of this dryly hilarious reasoning, underpinned by her erudition in cinema history, is a short 16-mm film featuring a lone rider and his horse in a sublime landscape, titled Transfer (Monument Valley),

  • View of “Gerald Domenig,” 2016
    picks June 02, 2016

    Gerald Domenig

    What is lost and what gained in transferring the three-dimensional world onto the flat surface of a photographic print is the chief concern of Gerald Domenig. The four decades of his practice have been a ceaseless and playful inquiry into this question. This exhibition serves as a useful introduction to his rich oeuvre.

    The most striking group of works is the photographs of architecture. These untitled gelatin silver prints show inconspicuous details of buildings. Due to their deft compositions—for instance, a clever use of corners that makes the skyline of a city seen through windows appear like

  • Maria Lai, Sheet, 1989, thread on fabric, 56 x 90 1/2".
    picks February 08, 2016

    Maria Lai

    The late Sardinian artist Maria Lai’s works demonstrate the freedom from dogma that artists at the periphery can enjoy. Though her most creative period—the early 1970s to the late 1980s—coincided with the advent of postmodernism, her practice was firmly anchored in a modernist language. However, while the ideal modern artist was figured as a heroic innovator, Lai was a synthesizer of methodologies, liberally taking elements from Arte Povera, Conceptual art, Minimalism, and fiber art, or works by painters such as Cy Twombly and Agnes Martin. These diverse vocabularies constitute Lai’s highly

  • Group Material, Democracy, 1988, mixed media, dimensions variable.
    picks January 27, 2016

    “To Expose, to Show, to Demonstrate, to Inform, to Offer”

    Prompted by ongoing social upheavals—including the fall of the Iron Curtain, the advance of globalization, and the AIDS crisis—the artistic paradigm around the 1990s didn’t so much shift as it broke into many overlapping positions that required a nuanced understanding of context. Diverse practices such as activism, politics, and exhibition design were adopted as artistic endeavors. Instead of being a neutral shell to be filled with artworks, an exhibition became a complex medium itself—produced by specific social, political, and economic conditions.

    Naturally, a historical exhibition on socially

  • Tris Vonna-Michell, Wasteful Illuminations: Distracted Listening, 2015, audio, loudspeakers, aquariums, ink-jet print, bench, dimensions variable.
    picks December 18, 2015

    Tris Vonna-Michell

    In order to understand Tris Vonna-Michell’s practice, it is crucial to be aware of his affinity with the history of experimental poetry—an allegiance that is clearly demonstrated in this exhibition. The show consists almost entirely of one installation, Wasteful Illuminations: Distracted Listening, 2015, in which sound is the dominant feature. The audio is based on a field recording that Vonna-Michell made in 2008 in Japan—which has its conceptual origin in an earlier trip there as a teenager. This complex soundscape of Japan’s urban environment was then transcribed by the artist into a score

  • View of “Constanze Ruhm,” 2015–16.
    picks November 05, 2015

    Constanze Ruhm

    Austrian artist and filmmaker Constanze Ruhm has been contributing to the discourse on moving images through her exhibitions, films, curatorial projects, and writing since the mid-1990s. Though she is primarily known for her films that update feminist film theory and Brechtian dramaturgy, what is instantly striking in this midcareer survey is another less discussed aspect of her practice—namely, the exploration of possibilities for presenting moving images in exhibition contexts. The show’s circular design, which is based on the shape of a 16-mm reel, with a specially constructed cinema in the