Critics’ Picks

Sandra Boeschenstein, unmittelbar vor der Berührung der Haare des Abdrucks bei Neumond (Immediately Before Touching the Hair of the Impression at New Moon), 2019. Oil pastel, oil, and ink on paper, 13 x 19".

Sandra Boeschenstein, unmittelbar vor der Berührung der Haare des Abdrucks bei Neumond (Immediately Before Touching the Hair of the Impression at New Moon), 2019. Oil pastel, oil, and ink on paper, 13 x 19".

Zurich

Sandra Boeschenstein

Galerie & Edition Marlene Frei
Zwinglistrasse 36 (Hof)
August 28–October 10, 2019

The Swiss commonwealth, whose art scene is still marked by the influence of the antipictorial Protestant reformer Huldrych Zwingli—he who banished painting, forcing artists to make graphic works on paper—has since produced a series of artists who evoke surprising moments in the supposedly “minor form” of drawing. Sandra Boeschenstein, whose new black-and-white works on paper currently hang in Galerie & Edition Marlene Frei, partakes in this tradition, pushing drawing to new limits.

In 5 Reinknien verdampfen Wasser (5 Clean Knees Evaporated Water, all works 2019), five figures reminiscent of servants—drawn with oblong, faceless heads in fine oil pastels, paint, and ink—face a sixth in a strange parade. Like silent Easter Island monoliths, they stand in an undefined landscape that merges seamlessly with the inked cumulus on the distant horizon line. These armless butlers carry water glasses on trays tied to their bodies with thin twine, and while the trays cast shadows, the figures do not, adding to the drawing’s dreamlike atmosphere.

The word Reinknien in the work’s title hints at how Boeschenstein made these pieces. Although it is often translated into English as “try hard,” Reinknien literally means “work hard on your knees.” The artist rendered the subjects of her drawings here with said joints, whose hair, wrinkles, and furrows are clearly recognizable in the texture of each imprinted surface—the real breaking into an already surreal world. And what to expect from Unmittelbar von der Berührung der Haare de Abdrucks bei Neumond (Immediately Before Touching the Hair of the Impression at New Moon)? Squeezed between Boeschenstein’s knee people, a realistically drawn man examines one figure’s skin. The moon, which is also a copy, looks down contemplatively.