Critics’ Picks

Nomde, 2003.


Tomma Abts

Galerie Giti Nourbakhsch
Kurfürstenstraße 12
May 29–July 24

Six small paintings by London-based German artist Tomma Abts are currently on view at Nourbakhsch. The size of the show is due as much to the amount of time Abts puts into each painting as it is to the rising demand for her work. But the economical installation and intelligent selection achieve a concentrated effectiveness. Each panel follows a strict yet unconventional logic that the artist determines during the painting process and lets develop into singular, impressively austere compositions. Though abstract, they often sustain a discreet illusionism, and Abts cunningly plays each side against the other. Working in shallow pictorial space, she suggests subtly three-dimensional folds and patterns that seem to lie just under or over the plane of the canvas. Her paintings conceal nothing: Underlying gestures and marks and are clearly visible on their surfaces. Thus viewers can see how, in the course of their development, the works become un-interchangeable “characters.” By titling her paintings with first names, Abts ironically personalizes them. At present in Berlin, the guests are Nomde, Zeyn, both 2003, and Lühr, Soko, Feihe, and Ehnt, all 2004.

Translated from German by Emily Speers Mears.