• Katharina Wulff, Untitled, 2011, oil on canvas, 31 1/2 x 24 1/2".

    “New Work: Katharina Wulff”

    San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
    151 Third Street
    April 13–September 4, 2012

    Curated by Apsara DiQuinzio

    Despite their apparently unfinished, or mute, passages, Katharina Wulff’s paintings tend to brim and overflow, like an actor’s complex delivery of a particularly overwrought line. The German idiom durch die Blume sprechen, which refers to criticism couched in a veil of politesse (literally, “speaking through a flower”), begins to describe the mode of her paintings’ rhetoric. Their impact is warped, brutal—and delayed. Extremely distilled and serene landscapes seem to have all the air sucked out. The painted terrain conceals as it describes a topography somewhere between a picturesque folly, a park “landscaped” over the rubble of bombed-out cities, and a vulnerable, prone body. In bluntly framed paintings of heads and personages, Wulff sets hair, applies makeup, seals mouths, and blinds eyes with paint. The SF MoMA presents the artist’s first museum show in the US—a rare opportunity to take in Wulff’s work, here represented by some twenty paintings realized over the past six years.