Critics’ Picks

Caroline Achaintre, Bfor, 2013, hand-tufted wool, 59 x 27 1/2 x 7 7/8''.

Caroline Achaintre, Bfor, 2013, hand-tufted wool, 59 x 27 1/2 x 7 7/8''.


Caroline Achaintre

Fondazione Giuliani
via Gustavo Bianchi 1
June 24–October 10, 2020

In Caroline Achaintre’s one-person exhibition, watercolor, ceramic, bamboo, and wool are the protagonists of a narrative that seems to emerge from the viscera of creative expression. The French-born artist’s works take possession of the gallery space like three-dimensional biomorphic entities, even when simply hung on the walls like paintings. The porosity of their materials (paper, wool, clay) absorbs color, returning it to the gaze already digested, transformed. The viewer who enters the show is drawn down a meandering path that encourages the eye to continually shift from distanced looking and to focus close-up, acquiring ever-new viewpoints and perspectives. Achaintre herself has asserted her interest in “the field of tension that is created between poles and antithetical conditions, in the viscosity of the moment of encounter, in transience.”

For BiaUltra, 2017, Herbert, 2018, Cruizer, 2019, Bfor, 2013, and Louis Q, 2020, the artist worked hand-knotted wool on the backs of tapestries, manifesting her interest in ideas generated by the mask—namely, that of the double, the ambivalent existence of a dual nature within the same individual. Meanwhile, in Tenpence and Re-wine, both 2019, the polished gleam of the glazed ceramic creates a disorienting tactile and visual counterpoint to the large-scale textile works. And, similarly, in Observature, Gepetto, and Ten-Eyed, all 2019, bamboo and wicker offer elaborate interweavings and perforated surfaces pierced by the light and by the gaze, bringing to mind ancestral morphologies or Rorschach studies, even more evident in the watercolors copiously disseminated on the walls.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.