Critics’ Picks

Juliette Blightman, London, 2011, 2011, curtain, natural light, Asplenium, wall label, dimensions variable.


Juliette Blightman

Isabella Bortolozzi Galerie
Schöneberger Ufer 61
September 9–October 15

On September 9, 2011, the sky over Berlin was overcast, and a palpable chill penetrated the warmth of late summer. It was raining on and off, and the light began to become gray earlier than usual. These details all became part of Juliette Blightman’s latest solo show, which opened that evening. Around 6 PM, dull daylight filled the spaces of the gallery. As one looked for art, one gradually became aware that here illumination itself, along with the general emptiness, was a decisive player.

Juliette Blightman has covered the tall windows in three rooms with soft, white fabric in order to modulate the natural light from outside. The effect makes diffuse brightness appear amazingly sculptural in the space. She has also abstained from using artificial lighting; over the course of the opening, the austerely intimate space appeared to be connected to the outside world through a semipermeable membrane. Progressive shifts of light became apparent through the expanses of fabric, which resemble large, empty canvases.

In front of the windows, Blightman has placed a laconic addition: potted plants. A wall label accompanies each scene: London 2011; Lucca, 2008; New York, 2008 (all works 2011). When one learns that the settings are based on the artist’s fictional travelogues, the works begin to evoke imaginary movements in specific places. Yet the texts do not appear in the exhibition. Instead, one could read Blightman’s catalogue, Descriptions, which is available in the gallery, to get a taste of her prose. Published therein are wonderful texts––vivid narrations that flow into aesthetically intensive distillates.

Translated from German by Diana Reese.