At our Chelsea location, chess painting—the artist’s fourth solo show at the gallery—recasts Zobernig’s 2017 show at the MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA. Making use of the gallery’s architecture, Zobernig allows viewers to confront the constructed, at times theatrical, experience of visiting an art exhibition.
Zobernig creates a discrete installation that includes a series of eight white large-scale, primed, monochrome canvases, hung in scacchic configuration atop rolls of black photography paper. Repurposed mobile podiums with cozy, black-and-white checkered faux-fur blankets on top, offer platforms like daybeds, which invite the visitors to stay within the gallery rooms. Taking in the light and architecture of the space, they become part in the figure-ground-relationship of the spatial configuration.
In nework—the artist’s first solo show at our Upper East Side location, Zobernig exhibits nine new text paintings. The sans serif typeface, Helvetica has been used by Zobernig since 1986 in his catalog and poster designs. For a 1993 group exhibition Zobernig, using orange, brown, gray, black, and white, subdivided the letters of the show’s main title REAL into four fields, in reference to Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE paintings. One year later, the first REAL pictures were produced in the same colors. Bit by bit, Zobernig extended the color scale of the REAL images and years later added the word EGAL (German for “whatever”), which fills the canvas to the same extent as REAL. The words appear written into one another, and thus their meaning disappears, and a new, interpretive zero point of complex construction has been reached.
Zobernig’s practice is grounded in an awareness of his position as an artist and producer in the broader context of culture. His work is framed by the impact Modernism has had on the trajectory of art history and a questioning of the institutional mechanisms that support the exhibition of artwork.