In and Out

In light of teenagers who skirt their school's exterior to avoid those inside, it's difficult to cruise the corridors of Argentinean Guillermo Kuitca's 1998 floor-plan paintings without wondering who grants whom the right of way. The paintings resemble the layouts of prisons, corporate offices, apartment buildings, schools, or shopping malls. The scale of such institutions parallels that of stadiums and theaters, marking a middle ground between the micro of four-room flats and the macro of city plans and road maps— five familiar Kuitca motifs. Grafting the personal onto the general, Kuitca's midsize imagery inspires you to locate your seat, cell, office, apartment, classroom, or shop amid a larger arena. As virtual spaces, such plans demarcate the reality of a private moment entwined within the public gaze.

Space appears plentiful, unless, of course, you select a smeared, erased, or voided place, like those swirling away in the baroque opera house painting here. Some rooms and hallways are strewn with rubble, several have disintegrated into dust clouds, and others appear obliterated, yet it's unclear whether you're studying soiled and doodled floor plans or maps of eviscerated buildings. In one painting, desks have been dragged out into the courtyard. Apocalyptic or not, these images of putrid structures, suggestive of dead-end, decaying, or obsolete organizational mazes, justify withdrawal, as if start-up is simpler than cessation.

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Guillermo Kuitca
Sperone Westwater
142 Greene Street
Through June 12

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In the near absence of provocative titles or edgy formats, Kuitca's serious paintings risk swerving into the stodgy and staid. Even La Piedad, an ordered cemetery map hovering on a bright blue ground, looks aloof. Kuitca's most illuminating title, Untitled (Peep Show and Video Arcade), describes models that underlie well-placed offices and grant insiders access to strategic information and power.

 
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