Rivane Neuenschwander: Stephen Friedman Gallery. (Reviews: London).
In other pieces Neuenschwander establishes a more tenuous relation to the calendar. The work that dominates the show--your nose senses it before your eyes do and continues to tingle after you've moved on--is a wallful of paintings of varying size and format, all depicting fruit. Originally street-market signs, these naive pictures have been "retouched" with large quantities of ground black pepper; everything is obliterated except the fruit, which now hovers in an unfamiliar textural and olfactory setting. (The bananas and apples and so on, too, have been treated with a fine film of pepper, just enough to give them a unified tone but not enough toblot them out.) They wouldn't make you think of the calendar were it nor for the title, Still-life Calendar, which suggests why there are thirty-one panels. Most enigmatic of all is Blank Days, which calls on the theme of counting and repetition behind the other pieces without evoking the calendar itself. Here Neuenschwander has arranged a great many variously dismant led yellow matchboxes on a table, forming a sort of labyrinth--but one in which no path goes very far--inhabited by large black beetles, each with a little white tag on its back. The tags ought to carry numbers, one thinks--a beetle race!--but they are blank (and the insects are pinned in place).
Neuenschwander's methods are hardly unfamiliar. She takes the systems-consciousness of Conceptualist devotees of dates and calendars like On Kawara, Alighiero e Boetti, and Hanne Darboven and reconstrues it through the refined, sensual awareness of quotidian materials characteristic of Brazilian Neoconcretism and the work of its contemporary heirs like Jac Leirner or Ernesto Neto. But Neuenschwander's work has an engaging lightness that seems unburdened by historical precedent. Instead it's very much about the present--about days encapsulated by moments of attention that are fleeting, delicate, numbered.
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|Article Type:||Brief Article|
|Date:||Apr 1, 2002|
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