HERE, I DISAPPEAR

GROUP SHOW AT THE APARTMENT GALLERY, ATHENS, 2006-2007

Here, I disappear

 

VASSILI BALATSOS, LYNNE COHEN, MARIA FINN, NINA PAPACONSTANTINOU, BOJAN SARCEVIC, TATIANA TROUVE

Curated by Ghislaine Dantan

DECEMBER 21, 2006 - FEBRUARY 10, 2007

 


Through strategies of distance and retreat, both of the subject and its treatment, the artists in the exhibition comment on different levels of absence: disappearance, emptiness, self-effacement, isolation. Arranged on a neutral grey background, the works in the show reset the vaporous, fragile assemblage[i] of the self and through its absence, they assert the sign of its immanent presence.

 

In the series Low Profile, Vassili Balatsos uses the automatic photomaton that one easily finds in railway or subway stations, supermarkets or other public spaces. In this on-going project, which started in 1988, the artist re-appropriates the conceptual form of serial registration and classification. Each picture is titled after the original place and date. Whereas one might expect an ID portrait, what is captured here is the moment of non-appearing identity, the unique and elusive prints of colored curtains and neutral laminated background addresses the deficiency of the subject.

 

Lynne Cohen photographs functional spaces. Despite the literalness of the titles (Waiting Room, 1976,Apartment lobby,1977,Retirement Resort,1977-78) we get very little information about the content and the context of these pictures. The materiality and formal composition enhances the emptiness of what is normally perceived as inhabited space. J.L. Poitevin writes in the artist monograph "Lynne Cohen, The Irrepresentable", if the presence of an absence is often embodied in a fetishized object, here, in these photographs by Cohen, it "is" the body. Absent, it is present precisely in its absence, and present, it is in the form of a simulacra and can thus be said to be doubly absent.


In her series Sometimes the desert is red (2004-05), Maria Finn takes inspiration from Antonioni's film Il deserto rosso (1964), focusing on the character of Giuliana and the industrial, foggy landscape surrounding her. From his early documentaries and films, Antonioni has been concerned with the theme of self-effacement; bodies and women's characters (Giuliana in Il deserto rosso, Vittoria in L'eclisse or Anna in L'aventurra) come and go, appear and disappear, become present by their very absence. Through drawing and photography, Maria Finn emphasizes the relation between individuals and their surrounding and, in her remediation of Il deserto rosso, radicalizes this relationship between the characters and their background. People are no longer connected characters on a blurred background but simply empty figures in a detailed landscape (Cecilie Hogsbro).

 

Nina Papaconstantinou's drawings are the result of a time-based process: copying, tracing, reproducing fragments of texts, of images, or entire books. Through enlargement, reduction and repetition, the text becomes an abstract image, it disappears and 'becomes' a new surface,Text is not meant to be read but to be seen as a image, in order to reveal what language itself generates: a deceptive imagery. As well as in the works on view depicting landscapes taken from holiday pictures where all characters have been erased, the effacement of the text by its very repetition and assertion (enlargement) allows a new landscape to emerge: blurred surfaces, abstract shapes, empty spaces and grey tones, a suspended moment between a conceptual approach and process, and a poetic, allusive state, referring to what is not here rather than what is.

 

Bojan Sarcevic's poetic works approach the condition of displacement, making use of a diverse range of medias including video and sculpture, architectural interventions, objects and printed materials; he investigates displacement both as a literal experience and a psychological state. In his video Miniatures, 2002, Sarcevic inscribes himself in a hermetic space, a zone of both isolation and protection as the window is gradually covered by condensation. While driving through the urban landscape, the artist draws a kind of geometric pattern on the window, the outlines of the surrounding buildings. The labyrinthic lines are ephemeral and unstable as they disappear under new layers of condensation, emphasizing Sarcevic's concerns of temporality and space.

 

Italian-born artist Tatiana Trouvé has been developing an evolving ensemble named "Bureau des Activites Implicites" (Office of Implicit Activities), BAI since 1997. BAI is comprised of three categories: the "Modules", related to the activity of the artist, evoking a state of un/productivity, of potential activity and archival; the "Polders", sorts of micro-architectures, models and structures, whose changing scale questions our relation to space and objects; and more recently "Intranquility", combining drawings and sculptural objects, which, as the artist states, evokethe psychic relation with a ghostly space, whether it is a memory or a projection of space within another. These empty volumes, mental and spatial arrangements beyond the visible, develop the idea of a present/absent body, of bringing to the surface what has not yet emerged, a pure possibility[ii].

 

The apartment
Voulis 21, 10563 GR- Athens
Tel/fax 00 30 210 32 15 469
www.theapartment.gr

 

images credits:

1- Bojan Sarcevic, installation view (photo Gh. Dantan)

2- Vassili Balatsos, installation view (photo Gh. Dantan)

3- Lynne Cohen & Tatiana Trouve, exhibition views (photo Gh. Dantan)

4- Vassili Balatsos & Maria Finn, exhibition view (photo Gh. Dantan)

 

 



[i] Steven Henry Madoff,Mind Games, in Artforum September 2006, p101

[ii] Sebastien Dejot, exhibition text, Michael Steinberg Gallery, New York, 2006