Kojo Griffin

Vaknin Schwartz

IN KOJO GRIFFIN'S NEW mixed-media panels, enigmatic figures enact scenes redolent with anger, desire, sadness, pain: A man shakes a screaming child; two men face off, one holding a knife; a woman's joyful play with a toddler is shadowed by the sadness of an excluded male figure in the distance. The characters are strange creatures—people with animals' heads or patchwork effigies that look like the offspring of a teddy bear and a crash-test dummy. Because they are engaged in human interactions but aren't exactly human, they become emblematic of emotional states and interpersonal tensions abstracted from particular circumstances.

The spaces in which the figures threaten, love, comfort, and abuse one another have the elegant asymmetry of Japanese prints. Large rectangular areas evoke interiors or urban outdoor scenes with lines implying the place where a wall meets the floor or the street.

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 receive the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the September 2000 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

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