Friday January 8, 2016

“Torso” at ribordy contemporary, Geneva

Ribordy Contemporary is excited to present Torso, an exhibition of new paintings by New York based artist Erik Lindman.

The show’s title refers to an Auguste Rodin sculpture in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York – The Walking Man (L’homme qui marche) – that Lindman has spent many hours contemplating. The artist’s attraction to the work is two-fold. On the one hand Lindman is drawn to the fact that the sculpture is a conglomerate of parts from three failed works. On the other, he is compelled by the work’s affectual impact: the sculpture is at once direct and bodily, but also anonymous and abstract, due to the frontal orientation of this striding headless and armless figure.

Lindman’s new paintings resonate with these qualities of Rodin’s sculpture at the level of both process and result. Many of these works are the result of cutting up and rearranging certain of his unsuccessful paintings onto new supports. There, these fragments act as compositional devices that ignite and then direct the painterly activity that occurs on top of and around them (and which may even eventually partially or totally obscure them). This is an extension of Lindman’s existing practice of importing found materials to motivate his paintings’ compositions.

These dense layered accretions are thus in some ways much like his earlier ones, in the sense that they are still geologic, such that a careful investigation reveals some of the aggregative history of how they are made. Yet, when one notices how these new paintings more actively court figure/ground relationships, as opposed to the topographic foreground/background dynamic of earlier works, one begins to parse the differences established by this body of work. This is to say that Lindman’s paintings are now more explicitly anthropomorphic, depicting (abstract) bodies in space, as well as activating those of its viewers – as his paintings always have – bringing the artist’s existing formal vocabulary into a new register.

An imagined form can arise from the basic geometry of the human body, which is not their referent, but rather their test. This is why in Lindman’s paintings we can relate these differently sized canvases to heads, upright figures, and, yes, torsos – even to non-human forms, as the painting “Horse” demonstrates.

The show’s title, Torso, conveys this, as does the painting shown here of the same name. This is not to say that the painting “Torso” depicts this part of the human anatomy. Rather that the painting’s blocky central shape, and the roughly human dimensions of the canvas, make it so that the viewer cannot help but relate to the painting at the level of a frontal address, that blocky form echoing the viewer’s own musculature.

This is why we find Lindman varying the dimensions of his paintings so frequently. The artist has always worked in many sizes simultaneously, though he has often felt it appropriate to only exhibit groups of larger works together. Considering the working up of the earlier found surface paintings as conceptual, a bodily relation only entered at specific moments in the selection of materials, then the development, completion and judgment of the painting. To then imbue the bodily relation at the point of formal invention means that the works can now take it as their basis and foundation.

-Alex Bacon, New York