Magazine article Artforum International

"Freeing the Line": Marian Goodman Gallery

Magazine article Artforum International

"Freeing the Line": Marian Goodman Gallery

Article excerpt

The freeing of the line to which the title of this elegant show refers is "the departure of the line from the paper surface and its venture into space." The word paper signals that Catherine de Zegher, former director of New York's Drawing Center, was thinking, indeed, about drawing in this show of largely three-dimensional art, and the linearity of the work she chose was unmistakable. The first piece viewers came to was Richard Tuttle's Untitled, 1972, in which lengths of wire stretched between nails in the wall form an obliquely oriented cross. Next came Gego's hanging column and sphere, from the mid-'70s, made of steel wires clasped in geometric but irregular configurations, in a fine play of impulse and logic; and then works by Karel Malich, also hanging, also from the mid-'70s, suggesting, perhaps, Saul Steinberg drawings realized as Alexander Calder mobiles. Joelle Tuerlinckx, with enough work for a one-person show, was the dominant figure here, though the single most spectacular piece was probably Ranjani Shettar's Vasanta (Spring/Transition), 2005, a beautiful spiraling room-scale web of thread and wax. The constituent parts of all of these works are solid but thin, even skeletal. The air around them presses on them; insubstantial--linear--in themselves, they together make substantial aesthetic form.

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The show's theoretical burden was less clear. For de Zegher, the line's entry into space carries heavy freight: "What had become clear in the process of separating lines from the support is that drawing was an accumulation of human marks without a ground, creating a new place for being that had not previously existed." When the support no longer "preconditions the drawing," we can "understand marks and lines as constituting the ground and its articulation"; "interdependency [is] stressed and not subservience. …

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