Berlin

Tony Just, Sweet bitter, 2020, oil, acrylic, and graphite on canvas, 59 × 78 3/4".

Tony Just, Sweet bitter, 2020, oil, acrylic, and graphite on canvas, 59 × 78 3/4".

Tony Just

Efremidis Gallery

The physiology of pain is often liquid. In Anne Carson’s 2002 translation of Sappho, If Not, Winter, the poet speaks of “my dripping (pain)” as she wishes ill and exile on the man who caused her harm: “May winds and terrors / carry him off.” In Samuel Beckett’s Endgame (1957), Hamm laments “something dripping in my head. . . . A heart in my head. . . . Splash, splash, always on the same spot.” Pain spreads and swells, floods the lungs. Pain can overflow.

But if pain is liquid, what of its residue? (Splash, splash, always on the same spot.) Tony Just paints drips and leaks, fugitive marks that eschew governance and direct their own composition. He first tested this method seven years ago, having finished Hans Fallada’s 1950 chronicle of anguish, The Drinker, in which the narrator, Erwin Sommer, suffers an existential crash, succumbs to addiction, and deliberately contracts tuberculosis as

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