Tania Kovats


THE GREATER AN OBJECT'S SIZE, according to Edmund Burke, the more violently it excites the retina: Thus giant objects give rise to perceptions of the sublime. His contemporary Richard Payne Knight scathingly responded that if Burke's physiological thesis were true, one's pen and writing paper, held in front of one's nose, would be more sublime than either the spire of Salisbury Cathedral or the peak of Tenerife viewed at a distance. Two and a half centuries on, in her exhibition “Schist,” Tania Kovats reworks the idea of sublime landscape, playing quietly witty, unpretentious games with scale and bringing together scientific empiricism and recognizably sublime motifs—rocky cliffs, mountain paths, dramatic geological formations—with a flattening effect that echoes the skepticism of Payne Knight's riposte. It's unheroic stuff: One can hardly imagine Kovats lashed, Turner-style,

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. Please sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW and save up to 65% off the newsstand price for full online access to this issue and our archive.

Order the PRINT EDITION of the Summer 2001 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

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