PRINT December 2016

Christine Macel

Miriam Cahn, Verhüllt (Covered), 2007, oil on canvas, 31 1/2 × 20 7/8".

1 MIRIAM CAHN (JOCELYN WOLFF AND MEYER RIEGGER, FIAC, PARIS) Cahn was present at these two gallery booths at FIAC last year, following a remarkable solo show at Wolff in Paris. Cahn’s personality is as intense and sharp as her painting: One never tires of it. Take the fascinating Verhüllt (Covered), 2007, in which an enigmatic female figure, veiled in black, emerges from a purple background.

2 PHILIPPE PARRENO (HANGARBICOCCA, MILAN; CURATED BY ANDREA LISSONI) HangarBicocca offered Parreno the ideal conditions for his way of working from a script and on a grand scale. His restaged pieces formed a luminous and musical ballet. You could stay for hours in the astonishing space of “Hypothesis,” following the loop of his films set to a score from a master piano. His best exhibition to date.

3 MARRAKECH BIENNALE 6: “NOT NEW NOW” (VARIOUS VENUES; CURATED BY REEM FADDA) The Marrakech Biennale joined the big leagues this year. Aside from its focus on several artists whose work is now fully being rediscovered—including Mohamed Melehi, Mohamed Chebâa, and Farid Belkahia—it also presented several exciting younger artists, from Jumana Manna to Fatiha Zemmouri, whose pieces occupied the spaces brilliantly, at times rhyming with the colorful architectural detailing.

4 THE NEW TATE MODERN You can’t but welcome a woman—the tenacious Frances Morris—at Tate Modern’s helm, just as you can’t but commend the work developed by its curators, who have studied certain scenes across the globe in depth, resulting in some superb themed displays: “Painting with White,” for example, which explores theoretical and material approaches to the white monochrome in different cultures, or the thrillingly specific rooms dedicated to art capitals like Zagreb and Buenos Aires.

5 MARIA PINIŃSKA-BEREŚ (ARTISSIMA 22, TURIN) One might not expect to discover a feminist artist with Pop accents working in Poland in the 1970s and ’80s. But Warsaw-based Galeria Monopol’s solo presentation of Pinińska-Bereś for Artissima’s “Back to the Future” section revealed a creator of impassioned performances about women’s domestic work and unusual sculptures with erotic connotations, confirming the extent to which the Polish scene during the Communist era harbored talents who have yet to be studied.

View of “Damián Ortega: The Rocket and the Abyss,” 2016, Palacio de Cristal, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid. Foreground: Torre Latinoamericano (Latin American Tower), 2016. Background: Monumento, 2016. Photo: Joaquín Cortés/Román Lores.

6 ROBERT RYMAN (DIA:CHELSEA, NEW YORK; CURATED BY COURTNEY J. MARTIN WITH MEGAN WITKO) In this magnificently installed, superb six-decade retrospective, Ryman’s classics did not disappoint. The experience of the paintings’ variations of white on different supports—from canvas to copper to Plexiglas—and their dialogue with light confirmed the success of the artist’s wish, expressed in a 1971 interview in these pages: for something to happen with white paint.

7 DAMIÁN ORTEGA (PALACIO DE CRISTAL, MUSEO NACIONAL CENTRO DE ARTE REINA SOFÍA, MADRID) Ortega’s work, made for the Palacio de Cristal, evoked various tragedies of capitalist society, as if monuments dedicated to disaster. A soft sculpture of the Titanic, suspended from the building’s structure like a beached whale, neighbored another soft form representing the Torre Latinoamericana (Latin American Tower) in Mexico City. Hung upside down, it was transformed into a pendulum that outlined chance motifs in gray sand on the ground.

8 AMIE SIEGEL (SIMON PRESTON GALLERY, NEW YORK) Siegel brilliantly explored issues around the fabrication of an image and the cultural dialogue surrounding it via photography, film, and video. In the impressive apparatus Double Negative, 2015, two 16-mm films presented Le Corbusier’s white modernist icon Villa Savoye in Poissy and its black copy, located in Canberra, Australia, a center for the study of Aboriginal culture. Each film, printed in negative, was an inverse of the initial colors of the buildings, posing the question of original and copy, all while exploring the question of cultural property.

9 CHRISTODOULOS PANAYIOTOU (KAMEL MENNOUR, PARIS) In recent exhibitions at the Fifty-Sixth Venice Biennale and in Palermo, Italy, for an exhibition I cocurated, “Nel Mezzo del Mezzo” (In the Middle of the Middle), Panayiotou researched archaeology, a daily activity on his native island of Cyprus. For his Paris exhibition, he pursued this line of work in several pieces, from the layered tautology of mosaics made from copied versions of ancient Syrian mosaics, to the more recent history of the rainbow flag from the San Francisco LGBT Pride march in 1978, reflected in the pink, indigo, and turquoise stained glass of Untitled, 2016.

10 SIMONE FATTAL (SHARJAH ART FOUNDATION; CURATED BY HOOR AL QASIMI) Al Qasimi mounted a tour de force, exhibiting Fattal’s highly diverse work in perfect balance. The Lebanese artist—who was born in Syria and resides in Paris, after living in California and Lebanon, where she often returns—particularly excels at ceramics, a material in deep dialogue with the myths and symbols of the ancient history of the Middle East.

Translated from French by Molly Stevens.

Christine Macel is Chief Curator at the Centre Pompidou, Paris, and founder and Director of the department of contemporary art and prospective creation there. Her recent exhibitions at the Pompidou include “Polyphonies: Oliver Beer, Mariechen Danz, Franck Leibovici,” on view through January 23, 2017. She is the Artistic Director of the 2017 Venice Biennale, opening May 13.