Critics’ Picks

Marion Baruch, Sculpture Ambiente, 2014, cotton, silk, gabardine, dimensions variable.

Marion Baruch, Sculpture Ambiente, 2014, cotton, silk, gabardine, dimensions variable.

Milan

Marion Baruch

Mars
Via Guido Guinizelli 6
October 29–November 30, 2014

Marion Baruch has a long history: Born in Romania eighty-five years ago, this cosmopolitan woman has passed through and experienced many countries, languages, and artistic phases. Her most well-known chapter coincides with Name Diffusion, a company (duly incorporated) that the artist used to develop participatory and relational projects. Since 2009, Baruch has again been using her own name, and the works she creates are disarming in their simplicity: She collects rejects from textile companies (monochrome cloth remnants that remain when shapes used for making clothing have been cut out). She then selects some of them and hangs them on the wall or from the ceiling, as she has done for the first time in this solo show in the tiny white cube of the MARS space. And that’s it. Her work consists simply in her indicating—through the remnants’ play of solids and voids—a beauty that otherwise would have gone unnoticed. This is no small thing, for Baruch’s cut-out and cascading fabrics condense an art history that ranges from Lucio Fontana’s slashed Concetti spaziali (Spatial Concepts) to Robert Morris’s felt pieces, and she accomplishes this with a sort of cheerful, sprezzatura-punk disdain. But in the end, these are anything but spazzatura, or garbage. Still, the possible references for these found fabrics are not only limited to neo-avant-garde movements. The artist correctly notes that the holes in the fabrics—the shape and composition of which depend on purely technical criteria—sometimes have the elegance of the best twentieth-century abstract painting: “The first time I pulled one of these fabrics out from a plastic bag,” she told me, “I felt as if I were looking at a Klee.”

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.