Thursday, April 1, 2010

Tatiana Trouvè at Gagosian

Tatiana Trouvè prefaces your entrance into her otherworldly space, constructed at the Madison Avenue Gagosian Gallery, with a simulacrum of an empty, unfurnished room. Barren white radiators are set against the walls and a pair of shoes sit curiously unattended. The radiators are cast concrete, the shoes a patinated bronze. I was not aware of the duplicitous nature of these objects upon entering the gallery, and Trouvè successfully manages to create an air of discomfort and unease. One isn't sure of the purpose of this entryway, only that it seems at odds with the familiar experience of the gallery. The main body of work in the adjacent room consists of large wall drawings of interior spaces, connected by copper and aluminum lines which cross over each and the floor to creep up the walls and inhabit the spaces of these drawings.

Further investigation reveals more strange artifacts. Materasso (literally, Mattress) appears to be a large, dull mattress folded and belted to a support pole. Another work (Cuscino N°2) portrays a cushions, folded and jammed between another pole and the nearby wall, itself boasting an unsightly stain running down from behind the cushion. Like the radiator and the shoes, these too are facsimiles of the objects they represent, carefully crafted in concrete and poised such that you're not inclined to second guess their role as sincere cushions and mattresses. The work, in its stark simplicity and emptiness almost insists the viewer remain at a distance. This distance is enforced by the installation of a room the viewer cannot enter, with glass at either end to halt them. Within the room are a few disparate household objects, some kind of fluid dried to the glass, and a small door on a side wall that invites entry though being definitively inaccessible.

The work is at once foreign, unsettling, yet tentatively familiar and nostalgic. Trouvè takes the viewer through a desolate interior, fitted with the appropriate items, shoes, bedding, radiators, etc, but contextualized in such a way as to seem impossible and at odds with their very nature. The palette and materials of her work recall the work of Anselm Kiefer, but rather than being imbued with a sense of grandeur and scale, Trouvè's work is off-putting, almost down-beat, though has a kind of esoteric allure that insists something, be it terrible or foreboding or sublime, is going on beneath the surface.


  1. Your review really gets to the heart of the exhibition. It is eerie and unsettling that these common objects are not what they seem as they are made from concrete, bronze, and other materials. The space seems abandoned, like someone was there, but you’ve just missed them and now you’re trying to piece together what the space was used for. Trouvé makes her viewers curious as they try to see into the room partitioned off with glass and are tempted by the small locked door. I also love your use of the words “tentatively familiar” as if the viewer recognizes the objects but is unsure what to make of them in this particular setting.

  2. Your review is well written and straightforward. I like how descriptive and accurate you are. This reads perfectly for those who have not gotten the chance to see the exhibit! I feel that Trouvé has an excellent concept and your review successfully dissects the exhibit—pointing out the objects, materials and even touching upon Trouvé’s intended message. I like that you use the word ‘investigation’ when describing the analysis of her work, because when walking through her show, I actually found myself inspecting the spaces and searching for clues as to why certain objects were represented the way they were… the exhibit was definitely eerie and quite intriguing….a bit stagnant and cold though…

  3. Tatiana Trouvè

    Your observation of the duplicitous nature of these objects was highly insightful and important about these works. Your description of the room with the glass that separates the viewer was detailed. As you said, the work is inaccessible and I found this conceptual drive with the tangible objects in that space to be the strongest moment in the gallery. I differ in your comparison with Anselm Kiefer (yes, the Great Anselm Keifer!) but she has something. Her work is strong and honestly (hopefully I don’t get in trouble for this) I never had a sense of feminism or seeing work by a female artist, the work defended itself!
    Also, it’s hard not see her Mattress piece in a naive fashion with post-Rauschenberg eyes.