Critics’ Picks

Coué, 2006.

Coué, 2006.

Paris

Alain Sechas

Galerie Chantal Crousel
10 rue Charlot
October 21–November 25, 2006

In his first exhibition at this gallery, Alain Sechas pays tribute to the legends of twentieth-century art history with a series of paintings and sculptures that mischievously quote a parade of iconic modern masterpieces. In Barnett, 2006, Sechas casts one of his noodly cat people (who inhabit many of the works here) in a cartoonish scene, depicting the sprightly creature peeling a piece of tape from between two fields of color in a playful allusion to Barnett Newman’s revered paintings. For Alberto (petite famille) (Alberto [little family]), 2006, Sechas has painted, in his quick, comic-strip style, a large canvas with a scene of lumpy, droopy blue figures, instantly reminiscent of Alberto Giacometti’s famously whittled sculptures. A nod to the work Nam June Paik, Bruce Nauman, and Dan Flavin, Trash TV, 2006, flicks between two scenes in white and yellow neon. On a television screen, a big-eared cat character sheds a tear as he vomits (out into the living room) the garbage the program depicts—a technological triumph reduced to a sick-bucket. Championing some of Clement Greenberg’s heroes through the Pop vocabulary Greenberg despised, Sechas subverts the modernist ideals of progress and improvement through their regurgitation in common visual language. Tap the foot-pedal controls below Sechas’s Coué, 2006, and French psychologist Èmile Coué’s methods of psychotherapy through self-hypnosis become a trance-inducing comment on this type of linear thinking: “Tous les jours, a tous points de vue, je vais de mieux en mieux [Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better].”