Critics’ Picks

Tatiana Trouvé, Untitled, 2008, bronze, black patina, 106 x 88 1/2  x 69".

Tatiana Trouvé, Untitled, 2008, bronze, black patina, 106 x 88 1/2 x 69".


Tatiana Trouvé

Kunsthaus Graz
Lendkai 1
February 6–May 16, 2010

Tatiana Trouvé, an artist who was born in Italy, grew up in Senegal, and studied in France, now lives in Paris and has become an important player on the international contemporary scene. One of her early works, Rock, 2007, a large boulder with locks scattered across its surface, appears as a familiar image (reminiscent of mussels) and yet also seems completely bizarre. Such uncanny, paradoxical combinations also characterize her exhibition in Graz. With simple materials, Trouvé transforms the show into a landscape. One can meander through a “forest” of metal trees whose branches are tied with leather. Nearby are black rods that mimic the supporting columns of the gallery space; Trouvé’s sculptures are at once props and constraints. Sometimes thick, sometimes slender, the vertical lines squeeze the space and impart a gloomy atmosphere. Yet the questions remain: What is the architecture here, and what is the installation? What is fiction, what reality? The latter theme also runs through Dino Buzzati’s science-fiction novel Il grande ritratto (The Big Picture, 1960), which lends its title to the exhibition.

A rope hovering magically in midair has apparently stopped the force of gravity, two elevators can only be reached through miniature doors, and fine metal wires speak of high-voltage tension––even when no electricity flows. Again and again, the artist succeeds in driving the self-evident into the absurd and, along the way, building the intrusive architectural features of the exhibition space into her installation. Thus emerges a magnificent drawing of space that causes the “Friendly Alien”––as the Kunsthaus Graz is also called––to disappear into the work.

Translated from German by Diana Reese.