Critics’ Picks

View of “Drawings,” 2021. Photo: Manuel Carreon Lopez.

View of “Drawings,” 2021. Photo: Manuel Carreon Lopez.

Vienna

“Drawings”

Gianni Manhattan
Wassergasse 14
June 20–July 24, 2021

Programmatically entitled “Drawings,” this exhibition examines the medium through a wide-ranging presentation of work by thirteen artists. Anu Põder’s small drawings with colored pencils, for instance, point to its archival potential. Beautifully colored and playfully composed, each sheet records approximately ten of her sculptures and provides technical specs such as their full-scale dimensions. Zsòfia Keresztes’s works, which depict strange, somewhat Lovecraftian creatures made of miraculous compounds of shapes and body parts, reveal another sculptor’s preparatory, supplementary usage of drawing. In Marina Faust’s From the drawing stack series (phalli), 2021, the focus lies more with the materiality of the medium. Faust drew this stack of works on fissure-prone silk tissue paper, a material choice that questions the dispositif of the smoothness and stability of drawing paper. Finally, the frottage in Jamie Sneider’s Accattone (Via Tripoli), 2021, reminds us that despite our habit of viewing art from the vertical position, drawings belong just as much, if not more, in the horizontal domain.

The incisive installation of this otherwise rather installation-shy medium accentuates the exhibition’s survey: Instead of using the gallery walls as backdrop, an unpainted fiberboard wall serves as the sole platform. It cuts through the gallery space, shielding the works from view upon entry and constraining the movement available to visitors. The wall serves as a focusing device, encouraging comparison and heightening the viewer’s sensitivity to distinctions and commonalities among the works. The beauty of “Drawings” lies not simply in a presentation that makes the manifold usages of the medium particularly palpable, but in this fascinating diversity and alterity, ultimately sublated by the unifying means of installation.