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Tomma Abts/Tony Conrad

Galerie Daniel Buchholz

Two concurrent exhibitions at Galerie Daniel Buchholz recently offered an unusual contrast: Large-format paintings by the American artist Tony Conrad were hung in the gallery’s old space, while the new one housed small-format paintings by the London-based German artist Tomma Abts. At first glance, the contrast couldn’t be greater: Conrad’s pictures were created in 1973, Abts’s in 2006; the older paintings are the work of a filmmaker and musician, the new ones, of a dedicated painter; his paintings are enormous, hers are always the same modest format, 18 7⁄8 x 15 inches. Despite these differences, however, the two artists do have one thing in common. Both investigate the common underlying principle of their respective media, film and painting: the principle of illusion.

Film pretends to project ongoing action. In fact, the duration of the action is never accurately reflected; within a few

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