London

Jennifer Bornstein

greengrassi

On first viewing, Jennifer Bornstein’s careful, sober intaglio prints look like slightly bland cartoons. Bornstein is a bit of an anti-artist: Her choice of the apparently backward technique of copperplate etching—a kind of “slow art”—is an intentional deskilling, and her output is fairly small. Perhaps as a result, the exhibition at greengrassi has a crystalline, almost icy precision, while paradoxically projecting an obtuse, diffident air. However, the works contain just enough slyly funny moments to suggest that braving their conceptual rigor may be rewarding after all.

Bornstein’s figurehead for this exhibition was Margaret Mead—the invite card was a cropped image of the cover of the 1968 Dell Laurel edition of Coming of Age in Samoa (1928); portraits of the anthropologist and her circle are scattered throughout the show; and many of the works are ethnographic sketches of a kind. The

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