Critics’ Picks

Justin Fitzpatrick, A Whisper in the Cloister, 2019, oil on canvas, 29 x 44 1/2".

Justin Fitzpatrick, A Whisper in the Cloister, 2019, oil on canvas, 29 x 44 1/2".


“Our Vampires”

Regerplatz 9
November 6, 2021–January 29, 2022

According to horror scholar Nina Auerbach, the vampire’s unlife as an immortal outsider makes it not only a figure of perpetual change, but also a vehicle for the specific anxieties of each generation. As she writes in her 1995 monograph Our Vampires, Ourselves, “Eternally alive, [vampires] embody not fear of death, but fear of life.” Curator Attilia Fattori Franchini took Auerbach’s book as the starting point for the group exhibition “Our Vampires,” which brings together a selection of recent works that rely heavily on facial metaphor. For example, visitors peer through the bloodred maws of Daniele Milvio’s LM in AG, 2021, onto a scene from the life of Italian playboy and all-around criminal Lele Mora. Nearby, Milvio’s oral fixation is echoed in Birke Gorm’s IOU, 2021, carefully carved wooden sticks that feature a grotesque tangle of tongues writhing between miniature mouths.

The atmosphere of sexual anxiety coalesces in Justin Fitzpatrick’s A Whisper in the Cloister, 2019. The lush, friezelike painting depicts a pair of distraught monks fleeing from the judgment of a larger-than-life countenance that’s been institutionalized into architecture. On the gallery floor, Sveta Mordovskaya’s Untitled (Clowns), 2018—an accumulation of clown faces culled from the packaging of single serve coffee creamers—conjures both the quaintness and the horror of the nativist fantasies the artist encounters in her nonnative Switzerland. Sifting through this assortment of unseemly mugs, the takeaway feels as frustrating as it is therapeutic: What we see in others (or in art, for that matter) is inevitably a product of our own cultural projections.