new-york

Gianni Dessi

Sperone Westwater

In this, his best show yet, Gianni Dessì has come into his own. His previous works had a somewhat spiritless character, reconciling the melancholy and deconstructivist modes of Modernism (a dichotomy proposed by Jean-Francois Lyotard) in a low-key way. They seemed oddly unprepossessing, intimating more than they delivered. They made a certain minor point about the subjective possibilities of abstraction, but their material means was not equal to their ambitious spiritual effect.

The calculated simplicity of the paintings shown here (all but two from 1987) works brilliantly, jarringly. There is a boldness to each of these abstract “constructed” canvases that comes through no matter how subtle the material content or coloration—in Lacanian terms, pushing through the symbolic and imaginary orders to an unnameably “real” emotion. Here, the emotion is projected as a long wail of shape, familiar

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