Critics’ Picks

Aleksandra Domanović, Portrait of a Lady on Fire 17, 2020, silkscreen print on paper, 23 1/2 x 31 1/2".


Aleksandra Domanović, Portrait of a Lady on Fire 17, 2020, silkscreen print on paper, 23 1/2 x 31 1/2".


Berlin

Aleksandra Domanović

Helga Maria Klosterfelde | Berlin
Potsdamer Str. 97
April 30–June 27, 2020

The eighteenth-century protagonist of the French romance film Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019) is commissioned to secretly paint the noblewoman who eventually becomes her lover. What unfolds is a story very much about looking, in which the pairs’ crescendoing series of exchanged glances constitute a charged model of the queer female gaze. The film is an attractive intertext for Aleksandra Domanović’s new exhibition of silk-screen prints, “Edicije.” In each of these two dozen works on paper, the classic dyad of seeing and perceiving is played out in optical illusions that interdigitate colors and patterns within the frame. With each new image, the series establishes its own internal language, comprised of elements of text (e.g., the film’s title), lines, dots, emoji, and even a cybernetic arm evocative of Domanović’s previous sculptural work.

At times the differences in the prints are subtle, more akin to those between the stills in a film sequence, giving them a character not often seen in Op art that can tend to feel clinical. But if the tonal variations in the prints seem slight, certain oranges appearing red or yellows appearing gray, it’s due to slippages in what our eyes and minds perceive in relation to what is printed. The delicate relationship between colors is so often the point upon which an optical illusion turns. To link such work to the tale of a romantic relationship foregrounds the dynamic of autonomy versus assimilation, a cornerstone of understanding the perception of both color and self. It’s through this play of difference and uncanny juxtapositions that a kind of truth emerges, and ultimately the film itself gets left behind as a virtual afterimage.