Critics’ Picks

Talia Chetrit, Butterfly, 1995–2021, silver gelatin print, 24 x 18 x 1 1/2".

Talia Chetrit, Butterfly, 1995–2021, silver gelatin print, 24 x 18 x 1 1/2".


Talia Chetrit

kaufmann repetto
Via di Porta Tenaglia, 7
November 20, 2021–February 22, 2022

The sixteen works on view in Talia Chetrit’s sixth solo exhibition at this gallery span twenty-seven years of the artist’s work, going back to early black-and-white silver gelatin prints taken during the 1990s such as the staged composition Murder Picture #6, 1997/2021, or the youthful and enigmatic Raver and Hippie, 1998/2021, both portraits the artist made as a teenager, and which Chetrit has repurposed and recontextualized for this occasion.

In more recent work, red and blue emerge as a leitmotif, as in the uncanny inkjet print Ash, 2021, portraying a figure holding a cigarette while dressed in what seems to be a hyperlink-blue beekeeper suit, or in Bathroom, 2021, an informal snapshot which captures an intimate family scene from an off-key, aerial vantage—an oblique reflection on parenthood the work shares with New, 2019, which shows a bandage from a cesarean section undergone by the artist to give birth to her son. Those images exist in the “real” domain of a gallery space while retaining a certain internet quality in terms of their screen-optimized color palette. That Chetrit’s images could feel at home in a white-cube gallery, a magazine spread, an Instagram account, and an mood board seems like a stealth critique of the value systems of contemporary visual culture. Her approach to image-making is definitely aware of the fluidity with which images are constructed and disseminated today, and some of her most intimate work incorporates the language of fashion stripped of its commercial nature. (See the black-and-white photo Dad / Mesh, 2021, in which the artist’s father strikes a ’90s-inspired power pose in a white mesh tank top.) Although self-portraiture is a recurrent trope in Chetrit’s practice—she often introduces the camera within the image, ex machina—only in two images here do photographer and subject coincide. But the exhibition itself could be considered a kind of self-portrait: one of an artist who has found her filter, and is ready to apply it to the outside world.