Critics’ Picks

Jill Magid, Homage to the Square Josef Albers, Casa Luis Barragán, 2014, oil on wood-fibre board, 45 x 45”.


“A Mouse Drowned in a Honey Pot”

Galerie Martin Janda
Eschenbachgasse 11
October 3–November 8

Memory is a tricky thing, but under the direction of Mexico City–based curator Magalí Arriola, the Modernist-inspired designs of architect Luis Ramiro Barragán offer three artists ample grounds for contemplation of the mnemonic. As one of several concurrent group shows in Vienna organized under the theme “The Century of the Bed,” this exhibition includes works such as Jill Magid’s Homage to the Square Josef Albers, Casa Luis Barragán, 2014. Referencing a black-and-white photograph of a screen-printed copy of an Albers that hung in Barragán’s home, Magid’s painting explores issues of authorship and identity raised by a prior solo show about legal proceedings surrounding Barragán’s estate. Her roughly executed version eschews Albers’s exacting draftsmanship, replacing his colors with the tonalities of the photograph—and underscoring the shades of gray that so often color our memory.

Elsewhere, Tania Pérez Córdova’s wall sculpture, Fade in / Fade out, 2014, reimagines the window casements of the Guadalajara home Barragán built for José Arriola Adame—whose recording of a sonatina he composed there also provides a sound track for this show. Utilizing photographs of the house as a guide, Córdova produced rough one-to-one scale replicas of the casements in bronze. Like any childhood game of telephone, her translation of the design loses accuracy while gaining a depth afforded by interpretation. If Cordova welcomes the deviations of mediation, Simon Starling’s dual-vitrine installation, A silver bowl . . . (Test & Tools), 2013, instead aims for an eidetic verity. Among the display’s contents is a 3-D scanned and CNC-milled steel die used to produce a replica of a silver dish designed by Barragán. However, Starling’s calculated duplication, unlike Magid and Cordova’s inspired recreations, is less a subtle remembrance of things past than a breathless restaging of them.