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“Llama”

Conduits
Viale Stelvio 66
December 16, 2010–February 19, 2011

View of “Llama,” 2010. From left: Ana Cardoso, untitled (interrupted green stripes), 2010; Ana Cardoso, untitled (orange|black), 2010. Center: Amy Granat, Table/Quilt, 2010.

The llama is an extremely agile, swift member of the camel family that moves with great ease over impassable terrains; it usually grazes during the day and, at dusk, retires to sleep with the herd. I believe that Lisa Oppenheim’s title for this group exhibition, while indeed odd, probably goes back to this Andean animal’s aforementioned qualities, which likewise relate to the capacity of certain artists to extricate themselves from labyrinths of language––an ability that becomes quite noticeable in this enlivening exhibition. Amid the twists and turns that characterize the gallery, a postindustrial space renovated by a master of kinetic art, Getulio Alviani, there are still several traces from past shows, including a sculpture made of books, by Eva Kotatkova, and graffiti by Olaf Breuning, the latter located right above the gallery’s entrance.

An artist (and now curator), Oppenheim asked four friends to participate in the show, and numerous affinities can be found among their individual works. For instance, in Ana Cardoso’s sewed-cotton paintings, the photo-sculptures by Amy Granat and Matt Keegan, and Lisa Tan’s elegiac Moving a Mountain, 2008, an installation that was partly inspired by a found painting, one notices that all of the pieces expand our traditional notions of collage. Most notable in this regard is Cardoso’s untitled (orange|black), 2010. Here the artist mimics abstract painting through the juxtaposition of two fabrics of different colors and materials—one cotton, the other wool; with untitled (reversed painting), 2010, she instead turns the colorful, stitched-together work inside out.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.

Marco Tagliafierro