Magazine article Artforum International

Kirsten Stoltmann: Wallspace

Magazine article Artforum International

Kirsten Stoltmann: Wallspace

Article excerpt

In her New York solo debut, Los Angeles-based artist Kirsten Stoltmann used materials and techniques familiar from junior high art class to access the absurd heights and maudlin depths of teenage fantasy. The arrangement of collages, sculpture, and video that she exhibited at Wallspace blended desire and shame, offering an adolescent take on sexual fantasy, racial politics, and materialistic envy. Regression to a teenage mind-set might seem counterintuitive when examining such complex topics, but Stoltmann manages to inject at least some nuance. The reflexive implications of the show's title, "I Know What I'm Doing," further suggested that Stoltmann is not the naif she appears.

The best works included here were among the eight collages hung on one wall of the main gallery. Pieced together from images clipped from magazines and posters, these wax-splattered amalgamations of slick Lamborghinis, almost-naked women, and colorful flowers were a fanciful hybrid of girlish handicraft and boyish reverie. The finest example, All a Flutter, 2005, features a topless woman standing in front of a red Ferrari and peering down at a dramatically beautiful arc of butterflies issuing from between her legs. Another, Lamborghini 69, 2005, shows two cars--one black, one white--pasted suggestively together nose-to-tail against a creamy yellow ground.

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The petulant tone of two other collages--in which garlands of chrysanthemums spell out I'M BORED and I'M PREGNANT against floral backgrounds--is irritating in isolation, but worked well here in conjunction with You Don't Know Me, 2006, a floor-based sculpture whose title is spelled out in poured dark red urethane alongside the wine bottle from which the liquid appears to have spilled. Stoltmann moved to Los Angeles in 2003, and this work, one of the two newest in the exhibition, might be aligned with the humorous, make-one-thing-look-like-another sculpture with which the city now seems rife. …

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