Critics’ Picks

Gal Weinstein, Untitled, 2018, wool and steel wool on paper, 42 x 29".

Milan

Gal Weinstein

Galleria Riccardo Crespi
Via Mellerio 1
February 28–May 4

Can you engage in a political discourse through matter? With the eighteen new works that make up the exhibition “Echo,” Gal Weinstein continues to demonstrate the refined metaphorical power that material can assume. By layering fabrics, such as felt, with bronze or steel wool, plaster, vinegar, and silicon carbide, the artist creates an interaction of elements that corrodes or unexpectedly changes the materials’ surfaces. In Untitled, 2019, felt and steel and bronze wool—suggesting both mold and organic vitality—have been used to cover four large plywood panels in fine, expressionistic lines. Their accumulation resembles a swamp and, in fact, specifically refers to the Hula Valley, a former marshland in northern Israel that was drained in the 1950s and eventually refilled due to ecological concerns. Here, the swamp, with its life forms and still waters, takes on figurative significance: The place into which one sinks might also be a habitat that generates life.

Decomposition and transformation are intrinsic to Weinstein’s practice. Untitled, 2018, is divided into two distinct shades of beige-chartreuse, a result of different layering treatments. An intuitive reading of the resulting image might be that of a landscape, with water beneath and sky above. This interpretation permutes the distinction between figuration and abstraction, and reminds us that the work is both an object and a living body, with a surface that contains depth and physicality. Instances of representation dissolve into metamorphoses and mutations of media, metaphors through which Weinstein proposes a compelling argument for the politics of material.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.