Anna Blume

Galerie Ute Parduhn

“In Supremacist abstraction I saw the truth,” Kasimir Malevich said, a statement to which Anna Blume appends a little drawing—a black cross, just like those Malevich painted. But this one is printed on fabric, which deforms it: the wrinkles in the cloth make the geometric figure irregular, erasing its clarity, and destroying drawing’s calculation and control. The order of the image is gone, and with it the hope of finding “truth.” Can Blume be serious?

To take a quotation from a classical “master” of Modernism and join it with a small, almost insignificant drawing, as Blume does throughout the show, is an initially harmless-looking gesture that ends up revealing the irreconcilability of life and art. The viewer slowly realizes that these drawings on cloth are parts of abstract patterns from well-known Modernist paintings. If worn on the female body, the cloth following the lines of breasts, hips, buttocks, geometric order disintegrates, and with it the belief in a rationally ordered, controllable world.

The authority of Modernism was based on the idea of a “universal” esthetic that negated any concept of cultural difference. Today, this esthetic stands revealed as the vision of expansion-minded Europeans. Examining the language of Modernist painters, Blume exposes their language as that of the male conqueror. Intelligently and ironically, she subverts the idea of a single, universal abstract order.

Noemi Smolik

Translated from the German by Charles V. Miller.