Magazine article Artforum International

Michiko Itatani

Magazine article Artforum International

Michiko Itatani

Article excerpt

DESON-SAUNDERS GALLERY

Michiko Itatani's vertiginous paintings do everything but actually spin, settin up disorienting and cacophonous rhythms. Maelstroms of shifting pictorial field that pile up to touch the parameters of chaos, they reach as near to centrifuga speed as paint and canvas is likely to get. Writhing human figures are always a the actual center of Itatani's dizzying orbs of matter, and are painted in brushy tones of gray, black, and white. They may be of indeterminate gender and have their faces averted, but they confront a rather specific dilemma--they are always shown spinning uncontrollably in a constricted space. These dervishes respond to no laws of gravity or logic; instead they wriggle in perpetual limbo the naked denizens of some astral Last Judgment from which there is no release. Their ball-like form is extrapolated by Itatani into a polygonal prison, which is itself then set loosely adrift in a circular field set into yet another polygonal shape and so on, until the human figure is wrapped within five or six layers of a kind of psychic disenfranchisement.

In Untitled (all works 1993), a decahedron-shaped canvas posits an uneasy ride for the repressed figure at its center. Alternating zones of a star-filled cosmos and a webbed area of striated paint (applied by the artist with a hypodermic syringe) describe its circles of confinement, its perpetual Sisyphea spin through the universe. An octagonal piece suggests sweeping arcs that can move from one zone into another, but these are unable to break the chains of insularity. These surging, shifting spaces, extreme physical embellishments, an tortuous foreshortenings create an ambience that used to be called Baroque, and Itatani shares that movement's predilection for dramatic and theatrical effects Motion is all here, incessant movement always straining at the multiple edges that try to contain it. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.