January 23, 2009 - Parkett - Tomma Abts, Zoe Leonard, Mai-Thu Perret and more
January 23, 2009

Tomma Abts, Zoe Leonard, Mai-Thu Perret and more

New Parkett with Tomma Abts, Zoe Leonard, Mai-Thu Perret and more

www.parkettart.com

Continuing its exploration of compelling contemporary artists, Parkett Vol. 84 features: Tomma Abts, Zoe Leonard, and Mai-Thu Perret.

Additional texts are by Philipp Kaiser on Richard Hawkins, Josef Strau on Ei Arakawa, by Charles Bernstein on art criticism, and by Philip Ursprung, and Jens Hoffmann. The Insert is by John Stezaker and the spine is by Paulina Olowska.

Jan Verwoert ruminates that Tomma Abt’s abstractions “are defined by a kind of retroactive temporal logic: the movement that leads to the finished picture is a movement that keeps flowing back on itself in the process of overpainting.” Verwoert goes further to claim that the paintings are “happily buoyed by a very idiosyncratic form of painterly humor.” As he points out, “the quirky shadows, the squashed angles and squeezed shapes that didn’t quite make it might be read as smiles spreading across the face of the picture.” Yet, as Vincent Fecteau notes in a conversation with Abts, “I just finished a bunch of sculptures that are pretty brightly colored and still people refer to them as ‘sad.’ I can be pretty melancholic, a state that I actually find quite productive.” The third text on Abts is by Suzanne Hudson.

For her Parkett edition, Abts has produced a black-and-white photographic print perfectly to scale of one of her paintings. It is an eerie portrait of a painting that has unexpectedly cracked a gorgeously luminous smile.

Johanna Burton writes that Zoe Leonard uses the predominantly male photographic lineage to “speak in tongues,” and to play with expectations. But also to express a kind of metaphysical loneliness inherent to the medium: “There is no such thing as a truly entwined gaze,” says Burton, “only ever the promise of one and the deep breach that results from its impossibility.” On Leonard’s collection of Niagara Fall postcards, Lynne Cooke conjures the Hudson River Painters’ age-old obsession with this notoriously sublime subject: “Each depicts spray rising like a misty cloud from the basin at the bottom of the cataract, obliterating the roiling water beneath…” The work’s mystique, like the site’s, derives from its “refusal to immediately identify itself.” The third text on Leonard is by Elisabeth Lebovici.

For her Parkett edition, Leonard has turned a black-and-white motif from her Analogue series into a color C-print photograph titled “One Hour Photo & Video.” It frames a typical New York storefront’s sign and rolled-down security gate, introducing the viewer to yet another shop destined for obsolescence in a city that rarely stands still for any photographer.

Julien Fronsacq comments on how Mai-Thu Perret’s work appears to be “a product of a different persona” and to “revolve around the structure of the novel.” But as John Miller astutely points out, her collection of poems, autobiographies, and diaries “The Crystal Frontier,” ostensibly written by members of a fictitious autonomous women’s community formed in the desert of New Mexico, may function more as a pretext for a form of ritualized agit-prop theater. “Female dancers perform movements in group formation along with simple acts, like cutting through a black banner, manipulating white fluorescent tubes, opening a book, or playing with hula hoops.” The third text on Perret is by Maria Gough.

For her Parkett edition, Perret has collaborated with designer Ligia Dias on a doll-sized performer titled “Portable Apocalypse Ballet.” She arches upward holding a red ring—a fluorescent bulb that actually lights up.

For more details on this new issue, please visit www.parkettart.com.

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