Allison Zuckerman Holds "Open Casting" @ KÖNIG GALERIE, Berlin
KÖNIG GALERIE is pleased to present its first exhibition of the US American artist, Allison Zuckerman. Open Casting includes eight paintings and five sculptural works that reflect the New York-based artist’s unique engagement with the history of depictions of the female body by male artists on the one hand and the overabundance of visual information in the landscape of digital imagery on the other. The distracted modes of perception that characterize ways of seeing and being seen today provide an organizing – or better, disorganizing – logic for Zuckerman’s spirited remixes of the vast archives of both popular culture and art history.
In a short amount of time, Zuckerman has already established herself as a leading voice in contemporary painting, unique among her peers for her use of the medium to exaggerate rather than slow down and filter the massive proliferation of visual information at hand. The canvas, and now sculptural object, for Zuckerman, is a site of accumulation and endless reference, a horror vacui of materials, symbols, and representational languages, none more privileged or authentic than the other. Proof of this can be seen in Zuckerman’s addition of rhinestones – imitation gems – as ornaments on her latest work, refusing the usual painterly decorum of good taste while also creating greater play between the real and depicted surfaces of her work.
In the prodigious diptych, DIANA’S DREAM, 2023, musical symbols converge with cutout hands, animals with Renaissance putti, random color swathes with cartoon foliage, all marshalled into a frieze-like expanse. Zuckerman is careful to leave the flatness of the digital right where it belongs, her paintings routinely refuse deep perspective and illusions of pictorial space. Perhaps this is because the origins of one-point perspective was oriented to the view of a single subject, and the saturation of Zuckerman’s images, leaves no room for such detached projection into the field of representation. In MIRO’S CARNIVAL, 2023, Zuckerman leaves no question as to the painting’s point of reference – Joan Miró – whose Surrealist abstractions converges with Mr. Potato Head-like facial parts in a carnivalesque that is more playground romp than Rabelais.
The deceptively titled sculpture, SUMMER BRUNCH, 2023, operates within a similar economy of perspectival gambits, placing a sole female figure on a checkered blanket in a submissive, sexualized relationship vis-à-vis the viewer, as she sits on the floor on all fours, head at groin height, the associative potential is rich and complex. SOLO ACT is Zuckerman’s drag version of a self-portrait, seated on a chair, in full Renaissance regalia, playing an accordion. This self-fashioning is comprised of familiar elements – garish feet, mismatched styles, Picasso-esque eyes and nose, a true mash-up of art historical periods, genders, and accoutrements.
The exhibition’s title captures the essence of Zuckerman’s pictorial universe, where the idea of casting hints at the fact that there are no individuals per se, only characters summoned to play pre-assigned roles, made of parts found and invented, without the hope of coalescing into something that might resemble a fully formed person. To travesty that which is already a travesty is Zuckerman’s contribution to the world of images, recombined with a lot of volume added to the mix.