Critics’ Picks

Untitled (Fence), 1992, conté on cotton, three parts, 71 x 52" each. Installation view.

Untitled (Fence), 1992, conté on cotton, three parts, 71 x 52" each. Installation view.


Troy Brauntuch

MAGASIN - Centre National d'Art Contemporain
8 esplanade Andry Farcy Site Bouchayer-Viallet
June 3–September 2, 2007

Levelling a steadfast gaze at the world around him, American artist Troy Brauntuch depicts a wrecked car from the 1992 LA riots and the mangled fuselage of Pan Am Flight 103, downed over Scotland in 1988, with the same cool detachment he employs when picturing his pet cat and stacks of pressed dress shirts. In his drawings and photographs, Brauntuch disengages from a distinct narrative and defined characters, withdrawing from the specificity of his subjects, exploring instead the space around their encounter with an audience. He establishes a visual distance, devises open and somewhat vacant compositions, and creates a dark, obscuring haze in his conté drawings on cotton and canvas. It is within the fissure that Brauntuch creates between a subject and its recognition by a viewer that a multitude of implications is born. Untitled (Fur), 2003, a large-scale drawing of a figure in a lush, floor-length fur coat, is simultaneously an image of overwhelming luxury, the suggestion of an imminent absence, and a delicate study of light and texture. Likewise, Brauntuch seems to be rehearsing the fragmentation of space (as well as of emotion and meaning) in a group of abstract graphite drawings on paper from 2000 that ambiguously resist being categorized as either preparatory sketches or finished artworks. The selection included in this, Brauntuch’s first solo show in France, reveals the wide scope of the artist’s practice while highlighting a consistent theme: In the confrontation with images, there is often the necessity of retreat.