“Cromofobia”

Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Buenos Aires (MACBA)
Av. San Juan 328
November 15, 2014–March 1, 2015

Matieu Mercier, untitled, 2012–13, C-print, dimensions variable.

An exhibition whose works share only a lack of color, “Cromofobia” asks the viewer to look closely at each object’s texture, material, and scale. Many pieces reveal affinities through their placement, as in the case of Leandro Katz’s photograph Máquina de escribir, 1979–2011, a close-up of a typewriter whose letters have been replaced with cycles of the moon, which echoes Erica Bohm’s Chapter IV/NASA, Astronaut, 2011, from her Galàctica series, a digital photo installed across from Katz’s that features an astronaut, yellowed, disconnected, and floating in space. Suspended from the ceiling between the two works is Eduardo Basualdo’s Línea de tiempo, 2014, a ball of twisted black twine, bolstered by a central pipe, which in this configuration resembles a dark moon rock.

While such invocations of placelessness are still grounded in representation, most of the works in the show instead rely on abstract visual language. Andrés Sobrino’s Díptico sin título, 2010, comprises two laminated plywood pieces containing inverse black-and-white grids, while Manuel Álvarez uses a grid to create a white-on-white map of a city in El centro de la ciudad, 1965, with a central cluster of black, red, and green interlocking forms. Other works appeal through their tactility, as in the incisions of Anna María Maiolino’s Estam aí (ou mais buracos),1975, whose holes poked in a layer of paper leave a series of delicate circles. While the show’s somber palette could feel like a constraint, whimsical works such as Matieu Mercier’s untitled, 2012–13, three photographs of water glasses immersed in a striped background, each glass reflecting and torquing the lines behind them, create a lively interplay of transparency and light that transcends color.

— Lori Cole