Critics’ Picks

Nathalie Du Pasquier, The Big Game, 2006, ink on paper, 27 1/2 x 39".

Vienna

Nathalie Du Pasquier

EXILE
Elisabethstr 24/1
May 30 - June 27

Nathalie Du Pasquier’s current exhibition serves as a miniretrospective with a focus on her works on paper. Those who only know of her from the Memphis Group will likely expect to find an aesthetic similar to that of the 1980s po-mo interior-design mavericks, whose furniture was once described in The Guardian as a “shotgun wedding between Bauhaus and Fisher-Price.” While the show will certainly help viewers discern her individual contributions to the overall Memphis look, the focus is rightly on the development of Du Pasquier’s independent artistic work, rather than her design sketches, over the past thirty-five years.

There is a cartoony otherworldliness to these pieces that is unmistakably rooted in science fiction. A series called “Objects for the Electronic Age,” 1983–84, is rendered in loud, funky technicolor that screams of the decade in which they were in fact made, though on closer inspection, the objects are far from futuristic—they’re vases and fruit bowls. Elsewhere, the ink-on-paper drawing The Big Game, 2006, is a surrealistic take on the artistic process. A window in the back of the artist’s head, depicted in the foreground, contains a chimney. On the blank white surface before her are spread various household wares and toys including a treasure chest, a couple of reflective surfaces, some obtuse and indecipherable objects, a miniature rocket ready to blast off into the void—everything one needs to get the game started. But what are the rules?