New York

Daniel Spoerri

Zabriskie Gallery

With the unconscious long since colonized by art and, indeed, objectified as an artistic cliché, are new dreams still possible? Can enigma redeem banality, or has the hegemony of banality itself become the mystery? Daniel Spoerri’s “Background Landscapes” respond to these questions like a Delphic oracle, suggesting that mystery and banality are inseparable. Each is recognizable in and through the other. There are still mysteries, these pictorial tableaux seem to suggest, but they are commonplace: death, Eros, and the emotions that speak in the name of these drives.

Spoerri has described culture as “an obsession with death”: we futilely try to transcend death—to posit immortality—in the act of acknowledging our mortality. Thus, his famous glued tables preserve the sediment of a meal in an ironical gesture of immortalization, a bad joke of memory—a Dorian Gray experiment that doesn’t work.

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