The wall of handwoven clothing
Paintings of different panels in use
Gallery owner Andrea Rosen discusses Zittel's work
Andre Saraiva and Olivier Zahm at the opening
A slide from the powerpoint presentation
Thursday night, Andrea Rosen Gallery presented Fluid Panel State, their 10th exhibition of artist Andrea Zittel's work and the first show in their newly expanded exhibition space. The show is an exploration of panels in all their forms, and the artist celebrated their status both as useful objects (like clothing and shelter) and as art objects (like wall hangings and large-scale billboard paintings).
I was lucky enough to hear the artist speak at a walk-through before the opening. Though she normally creates work "in relation to lived situations," this time Zittel was inspired by conceptual artists like Sol Lewitt and On Kawara, who create what she called "efficient objects." Panels, by Zittel's explanation, are some of the most efficient objects, encompassing fluidity and rigidity, usefulness, and artistic value. In her treatments of them, panels represent the struggle between different forms of representation, and the fluid panel state is the moment at which a flat object transcends its two-dimensionality and takes on a new identity.
Obviously, we should start with the fabrics. Zittel commissioned weavers to produce beautiful handmade textiles that formed the backbone of the exhibition. The artist gave her weavers instructions for when to use certain colors, so each tapestry was at once an artistic product, a useful item, and a chronicle of work and passing time. The show also included large-scale enamel paintings, works on paper, and one really awesome carpet. Zittel also included a PowerPoint presentation discussing the many traits and possibilities of panels.
In the center of the main gallery was a carpet that used colorblocking to represent the spaces in a room. Places for a bed, a table, and even pillows and placemats were marked out in different colors, which both created and flattened the perceived space. Zittel explained that she imagined herself curled up on a comforter in the space laid out for a bed, and the carpet is an excellent example of how viewers can simultaneously admire the beauty of her objects and imagine themselves living with them. Zittel enjoys forcing viewers to decide how to experience her work––as art or as objects, and this exhibition expanded on the many possibilities of an object that is so present in our lives: the simple panel.
Fluid Panel State is on view at Andrea Rosen Gallery through October 27th.
ANDREA ROSEN GALLERY
525 West 24th Street
New York, NY 10011 MAP
Images by Ope Omojola and courtesy of Andrea Rosen Gallery