Magazine article Artforum International

De Rijke/de Rooij: Friedrich Petzel Gallery

Magazine article Artforum International

De Rijke/de Rooij: Friedrich Petzel Gallery

Article excerpt

Dutch artists Jeroen de Rijke and Willem de Rooij are best known for their 16- and 35-mm films, which often push the moving image toward stasis in service of the duo's coolly cerebral, career-long examination of the mechanisms of photographic and filmic representation. If that sounds dust-dry, the work is usually anything but, because de Rijke and de Rooij, collaborators since 1994, have a sneaky wit and a knack for mesmerizing visuals. Their recent film installation Mandarin Ducks, 2005, which debuted at the 2005 Venice Biennale, featured ten characters cryptically interacting in a modish apartment, suggesting that the pair might be moving in a more theatrical direction. In their recent New York solo debut, on the other hand, they eschewed film entirely, as if deliberately skirting a medium associated with spectacle and sensationalism in order to set forth the terms of their practice as soberly as possible in their first Chelsea outing.

On one wall in the main gallery were two oversize C-prints--light studies from Mandarin Ducks, blown up into painterly abstractions in which fuzzy penumbrae of color bleed into one another. Nearby, perched on a pedestal, was a big flower arrangement in a white ceramic vase; with its profusion of blooms in shades of green, peach, and purplish pink, it evoked the kind of catered luncheon that no one actually wants to attend. A wall text explained that the flower arrangement, created for the artists by an upscale local florist, is one component of the multipart work Bouquet IV, 2005. The other elements are a detailed description of the type and quantity of flowers, which theoretically allows the arrangement to be re-created ad infinitum, and a slickly commercial-looking black-and-white photo of the bouquet (here, displayed by itself in a small rear gallery). …

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