New York

Polly Apfelbaum

Loughelton Gallery

There is a reverberating stillness in the work of Polly Apfelbaum, but it is not a resolute calm; it is a stillness that bristles with contained tension. Her work evokes pleasure at the same time as it disturbs the viewer. Its spartan presence is misleading, for it is not primarily an investigation of pure form, or a search for essences; rather, Apfelbaum’s work is concerned with the invasive, conditional circumstances of postmodern thought.

This exhibition, entitled “The Somnambulist,” addressed the ambivalent condition of the sleepwalker: the dual state of sleep and wakeful activity, of unconsciousness and awareness. Apfelbaum’s objects suggest the wisdom of letting the somnambulist be free to wander, in spite of the possible perils. The risks are worth the revelatory potential released by the coincidence of the conscious and the automatic.

Apfelbaum’s objects share a formal clarity. All

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the September 1988 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.