Critics’ Picks

Cathy Josefowitz, Sans titre (Untitled), 1980, pastel on paper, 7 1/2 x 6".

Cathy Josefowitz, Sans titre (Untitled), 1980, pastel on paper, 7 1/2 x 6".


“Liminal States”

Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler
Kohlfurter Straße 41/43
November 30, 2019–February 22, 2020

The threatened breakdown caused by the loss of distinction between the self and other is what Julia Kristeva described as the abject. For “Liminal States,” the group show here featuring work by an intergenerational group of women artists, Kristeva’s interpretation seems fitting. Gallery visitors are met by the looming winged figure of Tau Lewis’ devil ray, 2019, a patchwork denim hybrid of an eel- and bat-like creature with a set of beige teeth housed inside a terrifyingly human face. Cathy Josefowitz’s pastel drawings from 1979–81, installed nearby, speak to the show’s interspecies dialogue by portraying the literal and metaphorical animal within. While many of Josefowitz’s works show bodies contorted in impossible positions, genitalia exposed (Sans titre [Untitled], 1979), others explore the uncanny indeterminacy between individuals, with limbs deep in mouths and two-headed characters (Mon poing dans la gueule [My fist in the mouth], 1979). Liminality here seems to refer to an uncertain boundary between what is contained in a body and what exceeds it.

Active at roughly the same time as Josefowitz, Maina-Miriam Munsky’s small crayon drawing Nach London Fahren (Driving to London), 1975, depicts a woman lying on a hospital bed with her feet tied in linens, a male doctor’s wrinkled forehead emerging in the cold gray foreground. As in her other works in the show, Geburt III (Birth III), 1967, and Fertilität IV (Fertility IV), 1967, Munsky hints at the violence of obstetrics and the boundlessness of pregnancy and delivery. Installed next to Munsky’s earlier works are contemporary artist Hanna-Maria Hammari’s floor sculptures of reptilian creatures enclosed in taut latex (Untitled, 2019), appearing like forgotten organs lumped around the room alongside steel bear traps. The works in “Liminal States” suggest something untameable, a strangeness within us all—a remnant perhaps of the way in which we enter the world—that escapes from the body and resists social absorption.