Magazine article Artforum International

Lydia Dona

Magazine article Artforum International

Lydia Dona

Article excerpt

Entropy disintegrates and is simultaneously regenerated in Lydia Dona's mappings of the void. Her supercharged explorations of nothingness do not take the form of pure, aggressive negations, nor do they skirt around the impossibility of representing this unpictureable realm. In her theoretical paintings, Dona plunges into the miasma at the center of absolute absence. Without restraint or hesitation, her systematic abstractions give compelling physical form to the unbridgeable gap between cognition and perception, knowledge and experience. The visual shifts, planar slippages, diagrammatic displacements, and slippery coloristic collisions that make up the faultlike surfaces of her paintings mark the point when one's capacity for rationality runs up against its limits: when what can be conceived cannot be adequately or convincingly represented.

Whereas Kant aligned this phenomenon with the sublime, locating it in nature's indomitable processes, Dona displaces its intoxicating effect. Her implosions of heterogeneous sign systems collapse the ungovernable machinations of nature onto the realm of pure artifice--into the unboundable, voracious sphere of incessantly reproduced cultural signs. The once-privileged space of abstract painting is usurped by her conceptually oriented program that delivers a cybernetic vision of Romantic sublimity. Dona's instantiations of overwhelming incoherence are numbing, befuddling, and ugly at the same time that they are vital, clear-sighted, and seductive. …

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