Catherine Millet


It’s a long way from Paris to Glasgow, but I was motivated to make the trip last spring when ELISABETH BALLET—one of the best artists of her generation, capable of giving new form to modernity’s old ones without resorting to kitsch or social reportage—appeared in the group show “Sugar Hiccup” at Tramway. Ballet’s installation consisted mainly of a circle made of wooden planks and rimmed in neon, a parallelepiped in smoky Plexiglas, and a set of three metallic structures resembling tables with many legs and lacking tops. To connect these elements, arranged a good distance apart in the vast space, Ballet resourcefully covered the ground with a layer of salt. Bathed in the already milky light diffused by the window, the effect was an incredibly dense, ambient space, where the deceptively simple sculptures stood out as “voids.” Imagine the principle of Picasso’s sculptures—negative

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