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Janis Avotins

Johnen + Schöttle

What does the show’s title, “I write to you at 20:02 as you wrote to me at 18:08,” have to do with Janis Avotins’s pictures? At first glance, not much. Perhaps it makes us think of the e-mails that mercilessly follow us everywhere at all times—but as for the pictures themselves, their strength lies in their ability to transcend chronological and locational specificity. Gigantic, for the most part more than ten feet high and sixteen feet across, they seem to resist analysis, and their titles aren’t of any more help than that of the show, either. In Nothing from Nothing, 2008, a black cloud spreads from the upper right corner of the canvas—or is it a splotch of color run amok? It spreads toward the center in picturesquely overlapping circles, floating upon a light background. At the upper left edge, the background brightens—or is it a cloudy sky allowing a bit of blue to shine

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