Critics’ Picks

Charlotte Posenenske, Series B Reliefs, 1967-2011, aluminum, aerosol RAL spray paint, each 19 3/4 x 5 1/2".

Athens

Charlotte Posenenske and Liz Deschenes

Andreas Melas & Helena Papadopoulos
Epikourou 26 & Korinis 4
September 29–December 12, 2012

This meeting between late-twentieth-century provocateur Charlotte Posenenske and contemporary artist Liz Deschenes unfolds over the gallery’s three floors, with the lower- and upper-level galleries devoted to solo presentations of each artist’s respective work. Sandwiched between these two floors is the ground-level space, where Posenenske and Deschenes are shown together and where this exhibition essentially begins. Here, three aluminum forms colored a vibrant matte yellow fold out of a long white wall. Each is from Posenenske’s “Series B Relief,” 1967–2008, titled with her initials, production year, and edition number. Installed in the corners of the room opposing Posenenske’s yellow shapes are three silver-toned photograms by Deschenes, at first barely visible. Created especially for this exhibition, each photogram is titled Untitled [Charlotte Posenenske], 2012, in a titular homage, followed by Deschene’s initials and edition number. Deschenes’s surfaces act, literally and figuratively, as ghostly reflectors of Posenenske’s bold, characteristic work, developed in a career that has involved a rejection of the art world in 1968, death in 1985, and a posthumous revival as one of the twentieth century’s great Minimalists—which coalesced in 2005, when Astrid Wege curated the first extensive retrospective of Posenenske’s work.

In their separation, the relationship between these two artists becomes clearer, despite the obvious visual differences. On their own, Deschenes’s photograms blend seamlessly into the basement gallery without losing their autonomy, while Posenenske’s vibrant blue, yellow, and red aluminum surfaces burst out of the upper gallery’s walls with a visual ferocity that claims the white cube as part of a larger composition. In presenting Deschenes and Posenenske at once together and apart, this exhibition shows the two artists as privileging the activation of space through the use of treated surfaces—in this case photograms or aluminum—that somehow absorb their surroundings with minimal, but effective, intervention.