Critics’ Picks

Figure, 2002.

Figure, 2002.


Ana Torfs

GAK Gesellschaft für Aktuelle Kunst
Teerhof 21
January 27–April 23, 2006

Belgian artist Ana Torfs links stylized photography, slide projections, and installations to obliquely reference her experience as a filmmaker, and it is through this integration of media, as well as her roping together of visual and literary narrative forms, that she achieves an individual style. Her current exhibition consists of three large slide installations and a group of photographic works, one of which, Du mentir-faux, 2000, is a sequential projection of sixty-seven photographs and sixty-one texts. Referencing the trials of Joan of Arc, the pictures show striking black-and-white portraits of a woman vaguely and quietly expressing sorrow, the montage drawing a credible connection between text and image. While simultaneously revealing its own artificiality, the piece results in a logically balanced vagueness, which the artist gives to the viewer in the form of an open question. Torfs’s work deals with the unattainability of truth, continually returning to the incommensurable relationship between image and perception, representation and identity. Her pictorial worlds offer a visual search for authenticity—a verity that, as a result of this search, disappears into intermediate zones. This labored authenticity is present, however, in the same way that an image remains when we close our eyes. Torfs’s fictional interweaving of text, image, and spoken word creates an intimate piece of studio theater.