Thursday, February 9, 2012

‘Batman Returns’ at Friedrich Petzel (final)

Brooklyn-based artist Joyce Pensato realized her obsessions in the Friedrich Petzel gallery. Big black and white cartoon paintings surround the space as if guarding the installation in the middle of the gallery. The paintings are hanging on the wall painted on linen with quick strokes that reveal a seductive energy in their curved slashes and thick line quality. Toys, stools and pots of paint are the materials she used for the installation which appear to be a chaotic composition in contrast with the sterile gallery space. The installation uses stuffed toys and ordinary tools covered by a black and white dripped enamel. The confusion and indecision of form is juxtaposed against the use of iconic cartoon figures. Homer Simpson, Donald Duck and other familiar caracthers are the protagonists of the show. The reconstruction brings the melancholy mood of a lost childhood which is evident in these dusty objects acting out their fictional lives not on television but on an unconventional stage. 
The installation reveals itself both exclusive to the artist and accesible to a wide audience. The cartoons rest on the gallery floor creating a warring temporary order which is random and affected at the same time. Pensato poses these old playful subjects under a new light exploring the disturbing side hidden under these masks. The show is charming even if the cartoons are still trapped in their clichéd role.

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