basel

View of “Valentina Stieger,” 2012.

Valentina Stieger

STAMPA

View of “Valentina Stieger,” 2012.

Valentina Stieger’s recent exhibition “Good Figures” found new power in familiar ideas. Exploring a high/low dialectic that is now a well-trod path by marrying the austere forms of modernism to a kitschy domesticity evoked by quotidian household materials, her work still incites a frisson of recognition. The show’s constellation of works employed the bright or banal emblems of the hausfrau—pillowcases, a clothes-hanger railing, decorative plaster—to more art-historically driven ends. But even if the works’ persuasive abstraction began between quotes, that is not quite where it ended.

Consider, for instance, Untitled (streamlined for dispatch), 2010–12, a line of six abstract “paintings,” their surfaces evenly covered with flat, decorative patterns, hung systematically in a neat row. Their colors would appeal to any grandmother, whether in Arizona or Basel: muted pinks,

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