Recent Press: CHRISTIANE FESER in WHAT WILL YOU REMEMBER?
April 10, 2019 - Elin Spring
Do you really want to know how the magic trick is done? Isn’t it more thrilling to be awed? German artist Christiane Feser has named her most recent photo-sculptural series Partitionen, (Partitions, in English), a reference to her methodology that is as sly as a sleight of hand. Even more breathtaking are the myriad ways she presents what we think we know in ways that delightfully deceive the eye. The Von Lintel Gallery (Los Angeles) has brought Feser’s work to the Gitterman Gallery in New York City, where it will be on view through May 25th, 2019.
I include the installation shot above as a “tip of the iceberg,” to illustrate how much vital information and pleasure you will miss if you don’t experience Feser’s work in person. If my review is as close as you’re likely to get to New York, then please consider this fair warning that there is no way to do these pieces justice online. To help contextualize, Feser’s pieces are large-scale – framed at approximately 39”x 55” – but the sculptural elements comprising them are small, beseeching an intimate connection. In fact, one of the most enchanting aspects of Feser’s work is the interplay of light with her little “partitions” which causes them to shift contours as one moves from far to near and from one edge of the frame to the other.
Feser and her gallerists are completely transparent about her techniques, but I prefer to ponder the results. Suffice it to say that her process involves building, lighting, photographing, bending, cutting and folding to create visual derivatives in an ultra meta way. But far from fussy or prescriptive, the sculptural pieces Feser constructs from photographs are lyrical and playful. Her patterns fairly dance across each piece, undulating to the rhythm of its core geometries.
Feser’s pieces don’t fool the eye so much as play around with it. The geometric and organic building blocks in her work are pleasingly recognizable – squares, triangles, teardrops – arranged in patterns we initially register as familiar. But soon the encounter veers into a seesaw of puzzlement and revelation. Light frolics with shadows, serendipity defies logic, and materiality flirts with illusion. Feser’s shapes coalesce into a beguiling work of art in much the same mysterious way that ordinary words unite to form an unforgettable song.
Illumination multiplies the mesmerizing effect of Feser’s artwork. Each piece transforms itself depending on the direction and level of light. The gallerists demonstrated this outsized effect by switching on and off the lights above a single piece, the stunning Partition 123 (below), converting the iridescent tone-on-tone grey boxes from a jubilant jumble into muted sophistication.
One of the hallmarks of memorable art is that it deepens and expands with repeated viewings, taking on new meanings and moods that can feel transporting. Feser’s brilliant photo-sculptural pieces awaken us to our own changing perceptions, producing wonderment and awe that transcend her meticulous technique.
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