Magazine article Artforum International

Diti Almog: Inga Gallery

Magazine article Artforum International

Diti Almog: Inga Gallery

Article excerpt

A revealing detail: New York-based Diti Almog's paintings are done in acrylic on aircraft plywood. Now, when Yve-Alain Bois wrote his famous essay "Painting as Model," he surely didn't have model planes in mind. Yet Almog succeeds in suggesting that painting-as-paradigm and painting-as-toy are not as different as one might have thought. Her works approach the status of painting by constituting a facsimile of it.

The handy thing about miniaturized replicas is that you can hold them in your hand, and thereby examine them from various angles as well as various distances. Questions of scale and distance have always been crucial to Almog. Her paintings tend to feel smaller than they really are, as if one were viewing them from far away. Her earlier works often generically resemble the work of Barnett Newman or Agnes Martin, only just a foot or two across, and are executed with an impossible precision that nonetheless betrays their handmade origins--as if created by someone who'd been inspired by a magazine image of a modernist stripe painting but had never seen the real thing. But her paintings also keep quoting one another, turning abstract paintings into represented abstract paintings, so that a configuration occupying the entirety of one painting might be reduced to a small emblem filling just a bit of a second painting's clean, blank expanse--as if a camera had pulled back to show the first painting hanging on an immaculate white wall. And so on: Each of Almog's exhibitions has typically been structured as a quasi-cinematic sequence of shots, one following another with dreamlike logic.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

In the present instance--Almog's first exhibition in a private gallery in Israel since 1992 (she was the subject of a large-scale survey at the Tel Aviv Museum in 2006)--the show as a whole might have seemed a sort of playhouse exhibition: In a tiny gallery, situated in two rooms on as many floors, Almog hung just five paintings. …

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