TAUBA AUERBACH – Tetrachromat
17 March – 10 June 2012

Images of the exhibition

The exhibition has been initiated by Bergen Kunsthall, and is a collaboration
between Malmö Kunsthall and WIELS Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels
Curator: Solveig Øvstebø

In Tauba Auerbach’s work traditional distinctions between image, dimensionality and content collapse. Surface, specifically the larger issues surrounding topology, has been a central concern in her recent paintings, drawings, photographs and artist’s books.

The title of the exhibition draws on the notion of ‘tetrachromatic’ vision. People typically perceive the world around them trichromatically (in varying ratios of three colours). Humans have three types of receptor for the perception of colour with varying sensitivities: red, green and blue. Assigning one axis to the colour perceived by each receptor, the human’s ”colourspace” can be thought of as three-dimensional. A new theory exists that a small percentage of people (for genetic reasons, only women) have a fourth colour receptor, which makes them ‘tetrachromatic’. In order to play on the idea of a fourth component, which, if it could be proven, would radically change our view of the world, Auerbach employs an analogy in this exhibition between the spatial fourth dimension and the spectral fourth dimension.

Since 2009, Auerbach has created a body of work she calls “fold paintings”. By working to efface the boundary between two and three dimensions, these paintings can be understood as an analogy that implies that the same erosion could be possible of the boundary between three dimensions and four. Even if the fourth spatial dimension remains physically inaccessible, the work might be a tool to help better imagine it. In the “fold paintings” Auerbach twists and folds the canvas, ironing or pressing it so that creases are left in the material. The canvas is then spread out and spraypainted, after which it is stretched tight and flat. The result is an almost perfect registration of the previous three-dimensional form of the surface. The canvas takes on a trompe l’oeil appearance, yet it departs from the trompe l’oeil tradition in that the realistic image is achieved by mechanical strategy rather than painterly virtuosity.

Auerbach has produced a new series of works for the exhibition. In these she exploits various weaving techniques composed out of strips of canvas. Instead of presenting spatiality by means of pigment or light and shadow, she builds the sense of depth through pure structural variation. In the woven pieces, two complete planes repeatedly change places.

Although Auerbach draws much of her inspiration from mathematics and physics, her works engage equally with basic themes of art history. Her paintings raise familiar issues in new ways, among them the depiction of three-dimensional reality on a two-dimensional surface, and the specific mechanical properties at work within the tradition of painting.

Tauba Auerbach has often worked with different types of book production. Recently these have developed into independent sculptural works that continue Auerbach’s research on hyperdimensionality and the connection between colour and spatiality. She presents several new book sculptures in this exhibition, and in a way these function as manuals for thinking about the entire project, cleaving impenetrable spaces in an attempt to address the question “How can we imagine what is impossible to sense?”

Tauba Auerbach (b. 1981) lives and works in New York. Her recent solo exhibitions include The W Axis at Standard (Oslo); Here and Now/And Nowhere at Deitch Projects, New York; Passengers at the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art, San Francisco, and The Answer/Wasn’t Here at the Jack Hanley Gallery, San Francisco. Her work has been included in Greater New York, PS1 MoMA, New York; 2010 The Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Exhibition Exhibition, Castello De Rivoli and “Younger Than Jesus”, New Museum, New York.

Opening Friday March 16, 5-9 p.m. Director Jacob Fabricius welcomes at 7 p.m.

Press images

Print version

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