Magazine article Artforum International

Max Renkel: Galleria Ugo Ferranti. (Rome)

Magazine article Artforum International

Max Renkel: Galleria Ugo Ferranti. (Rome)

Article excerpt

The work of Max Renkel carries out a wide-ranging investigation of the procedures, logical connections, unpredictable rhythms, and imperceptible passages that, in the elaboration of an image on canvas, intervene between idea and execution. In so doing the artist draws attention to certain points of departure toward a contemporary approach to representation.

This exhibition unveiled, with an effective and deliberately ironic discretion, one of the most significant themes in twentieth-century painting as well as its absolute anachronism in the present: the dichotomy between the figurative and the abstract. Renkel creates an interminable sequence of links between these two extremes and pushes to the limit the explosive power generated by their collision, blasting an opening between one field of action and the other. He uses large-scale color samples to depict details of female figures; but because of the varying degree of enlargement, these details elude any reference back to a definitive context. The artist's decision to work with representations of women tends to signify another connection--at the boundary between neutrality and artifice--to the pictorial tradition that has so exploited this subject. Moreover, a representation based on the body takes advantage of its familiarity and recognizability, further pushing back the potential border between figuration and abstraction.

The largest of the five paintings that made up this show depicts a reclining figure without offering any physiognomic or--still less--narrative particulars. …

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