Gigs, dance, art

August 8th, 2007: Steven Parrino

@palais de Tokyo

I finally went to see this exhibition, which has been open for more than three months. Better late than never, and even though I didn’t get much aesthetic shocks, there was a surprising number of works that I did like. There were three parts: one for Parrino’s own works, one for artists that influenced him, and one for artists he appreciated or helped in some way.

I was pleasantly surprised by his own works. I only knew his exit series, and didn’t like it. Maybe the place is part of it, but I really liked his big shifted paintings, where the canvas is bent out of shape and folded. I thought this went beyond the gimmick and gave an immediacy to what remains pretty abstract art. I just loved these overlapping opposites.

Crowbar was fun (a torn painting with an actual red crowbar besides it), but the most striking to me was seeing Skeletal implosion from a distance. It’s round with a folded/distorted canvas bearing black and white stripes. Cyclotron (another round one, but light grey with more pronounced folds), Hell’s gate shifter (five panes with a more or less distorted red square), Lee Marvin/Marlon Brando (two almost identical frames painted black and stretched upwards on the right) and 3 units aluminum death shifter (three silver panes shifted inward) also made a strong impression. I think the exhibition space played a big part because the works were not crowded and you could see them from a distance, which was a definite plus with this kind of stuff.

In the back was a smaller space with a circle of black concrete cones in a wooden box called Study for model of the universe to be placed in the forbidden zone. I don’t know why, but I liked it a lot, maybe because of the way it was different from the biggies yet somehow consistent with them. The exit series remains too literal for me, but I liked the weird patterns of dark matter.

Against the back wall were arranged the 13 shattered panels for Joey Ramone — love that title — which were like a lo-fi echo of his more clean cut sawed panels. Speaking of which, dancing on graves was a nice experience: the sawed panels were my favorite of his in this style, but I really disliked the video; nice nice nice tension here.

The part about his influence was pretty good, but not much new here for me, e.g. Warhol’s electric chairs. I still don’t like Kenneth Anger — just too much color. Putting a Frank Stella next to a few Sturtevant “remixes” was nice but not very original, and I wish I would something else than progression by Donald Judd. For me the highlight of this section was Robert Smithson’s mirror vortex, nice optical setup and material, but what got me was the three parts.

I didn’t like the last section as much on average, but there was a couple of stuff I really liked. Like the Cinema Zero fliers, giving me a sense of hope giving way to disappointment (a Godz performance, films with a Terry Riley soundtrack… but nowhere to be seen). And especially heroine of the people (black stack) by Mai-Thu Perret (there’s a pic over there). I usually like her work, but this particular stack of black triangles was my favorite of the whole exhibition, though it’s the kind of instinctive reaction I can’t even begin to explain. It took me some time to get to like her work, but I think I’m hooked now.


August 8, 2007 - Posted by | Art | ,

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