Winter Notations

Alighiero Boetti

La forza del centro

February 8 – March 23, 2013   Gladstone Gallery
515 West 24th Street New York, NY 10011

Alighiero Boetti, L'ENERGIA INIZIALE, 1992, embroidery on fabric; 8 7/8 x 8 15/16 inches (22.5 x 22.7 cm). Courtesy the Gladstone Gallery.

Alighiero Boetti, L’ENERGIA INIZIALE, 1992, embroidery on fabric, 8 7/8 x 8 15/16 inches (22.5 x 22.7 cm). Courtesy the Gladstone Gallery.

A limitless array of color tumbles through the Gladstone Gallery as if a child’s basket of ABC wood blocks were spilled out and reassembled for the sake of patterns rather than words. Yet the letters make sense while the colors are the incalculable whimsy of sensibility, given over by Aligheiro Boetti (Italy, 1940-1994) to the Afghani embroiderers who created the brightly colored Arazzi (tapestry). Boetti chose the letters and pattern (Cinque X Cinque, 5×5 or venticinque per venticinque, 25×25) while the craftswomen, who migrated to Pakistan during the Afghan war with the Soviet Union, selected the colors including at times their own Farsi text, whose boundless curves override the ordered grid of the Roman alphabet.

Order and disorder (1973) is favored by this artist who navigated both the materialization and dematerialization of art through the Arte Povera and Conceptual movements. The Arazzi speak with the simplicity of aphorisms but record time and place in all the splendor of language rolling off the tongue as water spills over river rocks: il decimo giorni del sesto milie dell’anno mille novecento ottantanove a Roma vicino al Pantheon (the 10th day of the 6th month of the year 1989 in Rome near the Pantheon) – not really translatable, not without losing the full flower of intonation. And it is the sparse, occasional word from IL DECIMO GIORNI… (1989) that signals the coming together and separation of color, “dissolving and scattering over time, the time of becoming, to become the wind in Peshawar, Pakistan.” In short: to have the zero and one of logical potential with the disillusion of irretrievability.

Alighiero Boetti, IL DECIMO GIORNI DEL SESTO MLIE DELL ANNO MILLE NOVECENTRO OTTANTA NOVE A ROMA VICINO AL PANTHEON, 1989, embroidery on fabric, 40 1/2 x 42 1/4 inches (102.9 x 107.3 cm). Courtesy the Gladstone Gallery.

Alighiero Boetti, IL DECIMO GIORNI DEL SESTO MLIE DELL ANNO MILLE NOVECENTRO OTTANTA NOVE A ROMA VICINO AL PANTHEON, 1989, embroidery on fabric, 40 1/2 x 42 1/4 inches (102.9 x 107.3 cm). Courtesy the Gladstone Gallery.

 

Suzan Frecon  paper

February 13 – March 23, 2013   David Zwirner
525 West 19th Street New York, NY 10011

Suzan Frecon, <i>
red blue blue,</i> 2012. 
Watercolor on old Indian ledger paper, 
9 1/4 x 27 inches (23.5 x 68.6 cm)
. Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner.

Suzan Frecon, 
red blue blue, 2012. 
Watercolor on old Indian ledger paper, 
9 1/4 x 27 inches (23.5 x 68.6 cm)
.
Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner.

Accretions of color become the paper as tides opalescent, blush across a fevered cheek – blood, semen, feces, tears – exposed through the inversion of matter with breath. In red blue blue (2012), I hear the opacity of thick, viscous mud with the flup-plop of hot gases modulating the surface, smell deeply resonant shadows of a cool well, and see sky streaked with the onset of shifting winds before a storm. Who knows the work of Suzan Frecon? I did not. Who could imagine such small works of carefully measured gesture commanding so fluently the expansive galleries of David Zwirner? 

Suzan Frecon
, yellow-orange on more conventional format with 3 holes, 2012.
Watercolor on found old Indian paper, 13 1/2 x 17 1/2 inches (34.29 x 44.45 cm)
. Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner.

Suzan Frecon
, yellow-orange on more conventional format with 3 holes, 2012.
 Watercolor on found old Indian paper,
13 1/2 x 17 1/2 inches (34.29 x 44.45 cm)
. Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner.

In the midst of such density, I breathe sea into mountains, sands fill my cavities sinking me into the sucking draw of the undertow; I yield to tide, sweeping dune, enrapture of enfolding yellow avalanches of heated hues, cool verdant sweeps, and dotted punch marks across skin.

I dream of spaces in the world that are not mine…while Suzan Frecon makes them real.