459 is a polymorphic digital experience
459 is a polymorphic digital experience. In this sense, the photographs of both graffiti and decals, painted onto the floors of different cities, are like graffiti: on the surface they are at once equally abstract and equally material.The seductiveness of decals and the eroticism of graffiti are counterbalanced by the seductiveness of the black-on-black photographic prints and an elegantly executed set of perfect black-on-white images. This show successfully turned these contradictions into an issue of context, whose determination is thus beyond question.The abstract and material images of graffiti, which always followed the same pictorial logic, are now used in photographs. The scale and the quality of their application are of paramount importance, but also symbolically relevant. Images of others are a constant in these photographs: group portraits of friends, photographs of famous street photographers, street life in extreme urban environments, moments in which citizens leave their automobiles in a parking lot. These pictures are not images of people as individuals but of images of the group as a particular group. The body of each photograph is modeled with meticulous delicacy and is as singular as the image itself, for the context it is taken from is the context of the individual. Here, the mechanical relation between the printed image and the found image that characterized the earlier work, here completely replaced, becomes the individual subject: the graffiti artist in a car parking lot faces us, the passersby. The reproduction is the second kind of reproduction, and the images—digitally cropped and superimposed over the originals—consume the real image of the graffiti before it is erased. The images are both a product of and an extract of the real space of the graffiti. The found images in a photography book (both from the 70s) are also in the space of the individual.
459 is a polymorphic digital experience of the artists body in motion, from which there is no escape. Until now, the authenticity of this body was of little consequence to me, and I have been trying to find the right way to use the body as an art object. In this exhibition, Mönnig made another attempt to accomplish that by painting the windows of the gallery walls with a kind of collage: Large-format oil-wash-on-linen-on-wood panels (all works Untitled and all Untitled), approximately five feet high, were grouped around the gallery walls and lightly painted with the same layers of oil paint. The windows remained transparent, but for the remainder of the exhibition they served as elements of a series of imaginary windows. Since the window format is not meant to suggest any different from any other kind of representation—its simplicity makes it seem almost like a kind of window display—the paintings created a theatrical space where the imagination and the body meet. The juxtaposition of real and illusionistic windows were set against a double-paned wall with a textured surface and a number of small, brightly-colored, blank watercolors.The pictorial elements of the window paintings have a much more original, and far more heavy-handed, expressionist pedigree than do the window frames. This is apparent in two works, made of large, dark, dark wood paneling, each made up of several stacked panels and hung close to the floor. The irregular latticelike shapes that can be recognized at a distance of between two and four inches provide the viewers sense of having entered into the gallery space, or at least been invited to do so. As in the window works, the paintings and watercolors are low-relief acrylic on canvas, the paintings being composed of bands of wood paint that are slightly thick, wet, and dented from a number of strokes.
459 is a polymorphic digital experience that concentrates the eye on images that are hard to see and hard to paint, allowing the viewer to focus on a single, seemingly empty part of the image. This process brings about a tendency to do odd, understated things, as if pored over the images had somehow revealed something obscure. But though these images offer an unexpected read, they are ultimately so familiar and mundane that they lose their novelty. In an interview, Greenberg described his paintings as almost like a family album: A family album that keeps going. . . . I hope its easy to look at, because then its just a bunch of stuff that happens. In this sense, the photographs also have a nostalgic quality: images of scenes that seem close to home. And yet the difficulty of looking at them is never the same as that of actually looking at the painting. Greenbergs digital paintings offer us the possibility of reading them as either abstraction or figuration, a choice made all the more difficult by the transition of each image from one layer of paint to the next, which can be read as a surrogate for the very process of painting.The fact that Greenbergs paintings are painted on thin and shiny wood surfaces often enhances their aura of self-consciousness. Seen through the glassy glass of the camera, the images look like retro-looking head shots taken from a forty-five-minute television commercial. (From the perspective of the label, the subtle differences of the surface of the wall prove to be none of the original issue.) And this we do indeed find, for instance, in the photos of a small, thin paintbrushing (the same one Greenberg used in the paintings), which shows a tiny ball of wax, head to toe, bearing the stamp of a polish-applied finish—perhaps on the piece of wood where Greenberg had smeared his paint. The latter is a rather strange relationship with Greenbergs recreated carbon-copy image of the World Trade Center tower.
, one which makes one at once curious and somewhat alarmed. And if one walks within the size of a single screen, and without the additional intervention of a step ladder, one wouldnt notice that it was at all cramped up.The very great Duchampian bargain that he made for his own talent is always rendered with an air of cowardice; and even though Duchamp provided some of the better pieces in the show, they lacked the shock of recognition that brought out his fellow painters and made them, with so much effort, a little shy of recognition. This is not to say that there werent some wonderful pieces in the show. On the contrary, although the show wasnt as bad as the gallery in Hamburg, it was by far the freshest and most sophisticated. Unfortunately, it was used to celebrate a determined, unfulfilled artist whose work deserves a little more space and reflection.
that depends on the viewing of a mime, a person who is either an adult or an adolescent, an adult or an adolescent, and there is no suggestion of either real or imaginary relationships between the figures. There is, however, a threat of intimacy that comes from the uncanny resemblance of the intimate to the intimate. It is an impression conveyed by the figure that seems to be unsettling itself. I would like to think that theres an artist with whom we can all relate, who recognizes that relationships between people are inherently formed but cannot be transcended, and who therefore understands that the best way to make them less private is to expose their imperfection. Thats the mark of an artist.