Providence

Katarina Burin, Irrational Attachments, 2019–20, concrete, vinyl, plants. Installation view.

Katarina Burin, Irrational Attachments, 2019–20, concrete, vinyl, plants. Installation view.

Katarina Burin

Providence College—Galleries

Reading to the letter is the ancient lie of fundamentalisms everywhere. As Michel de Certeau has written, the dream of a “‘literal’ meaning is the index and the result of a social power, that of an elite.” When I consider Katarina Burin’s disarticulated architectural imaginary of the Eastern Bloc, I think of how a certain kind of mundane object also manifests a claim to literality, a building-to-the-letter of how people live. Her architectonic vocabulary derived from Soviet plazas and public housing—abstract fragments, mostly béton brut of course, spread in reticulated clusters with a humorously straight Constructivist sensibility—speaks to the way that modern power showed itself in the erotics that backhandedly accrued to the supposedly utilitarian. Burin’s work in general often addresses the enactment of high modernism in vernacular Soviet architecture—that inevitable whiff of an aesthetic

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