Magazine article Artforum International

Anne and Patrick Poirier

Magazine article Artforum International

Anne and Patrick Poirier

Article excerpt

SONNABEND GALLERY

"It is wrong to believe that these myths and ancient geneses do not concern us anymore. The human soul is made of memory and forgetfulness; these constitute being." So Anne and Patrick Poirier once wrote, referring to the classical culture of the Mediterranean. The art that the Poiriers built on this faith in the '70s and '80s - microcosmic reconstructions of ancient ruined architecture, arrangements of outsize fragments of Greco-Roman sculpture, and related works - was among that period's many signs of an esthetic shift: after the sublimities and stringencies of formalism, Conceptual art, and Minimalism, a return of history, allegory, anecdote, and the depiction of things seen and imagined. And though I suspect the Poiriers' rehabilitation of classicism always made best sense on their French home turf, their pursuit of a vanished past, as a way of vitalizing the life of the present, had an interesting sublated energy.

If memory grounded the Poiriers' earlier work, their latest large piece speeds through that territory without touching the pavement and winds up in fantasy, or perhaps in a perversely backward-looking futurism: it is an imaginary lost city that despite its classical foundation distinctly recalls the intergalactic spacecraft in Stanley Kubrick's 2001. One's recollection of that circular flying tube is jogged by the fact that steel cables hoist the Poiriers' scale model of their city to eye level, an Atlantis of the air. A wall text explains, "Our latest excavations have laid bare the remnants of the city of Ouranopolis . . . . The City of the Sky. A place we have not yet been able to locate on any map of space or time. We are now showing . . . a tentative reconstruction of this vast architectural complex."

Ouranopolis (all works 1995) is a room-sized wheel of smooth white-painted wood and milkily opaque Plexiglas. The wheel's outer wall is studded with little brass grommets containing lenses through which one peers one-eyed at the structure's interior spaces, which are reminiscent of the Poiriers' earlier classical miniarchitectures. These largely all-white halls and theaters are realized in sufficiently impressive detail, number, and variety to suggest the amplitude of a city. …

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.