“Summer art splendor – Ganter’s riff on Botticelli”
Written by: Kenneth Baker
Friday, July 26, 2013
San Francisco Chronicle
Read unabridged review here
We expect low artistic wattage from galleries’ summer group shows, so exceptions, such as those at Ridgway and Silverman, come as especially pleasant surprises…
‘Digital Infinity’ at Silverman: The best reason to follow contemporary art: Willy-nilly it brings amazing surprises before your eyes.
Yugoslavian-born Aleksandra Domanovic, who now lives in Berlin, contributes a stunning piece – maybe call it graphic sculpture – to Silverman’s group show “Digital Infinity.”
Her “Untitled (Marina-Lucica)” (2012) consists of three stacks, towers really, of unfastened sheets of A4 white paper. Images appear inkjet-printed on the sides of each column. They show glimpses from different eras of a seaside resort the artist visited with her family before the outbreak of the 1990s Croatian War of Independence.
How do you print images on the side of a paper stack? Edge by edge, one sheet at a time. As if rematerializing a digital scan, the images gain definition as the pages stack up.
This might look like a feat of mindless labor, did not the fragility of the piled-up paper make itself felt as a nerve-twinging evocation of the frailty of civilized life and the memories on which it depends.
Looking at the precarious stacks – a gust through the nearby door threatens them – I thought of Ben Kafka’s recent book “The Demon of Writing,” in which he argues that paperwork, irrespective of what it communicated, founded the modern state.
Domanovic has made tangible that thought, or something like it, with an ironic backward glance to stacking as a strategy of late 20th century sculpture.
Other artists in the show impress by very different means.
Southern Californian Sean Raspet presents an ensemble of objects and raw material jumbled and suspended in blocks of polymer gel whose transparency belies the works’ legibility.
Londoner Hannah Sawtell’s “Terminal Vendor (Offshore Mix)” (2013) combines found materials in a manner that seems baffling in terms so up to the minute that we lack words for them as yet.
Digital Infinity: Works in mixed media by five contemporary artists. Through Aug. 3.Jessica Silverman Gallery, 804 Sutter St., S.F. (415) 255-9508.www.jessicasilvermangallery.com.
Kenneth Baker is The San Francisco Chronicle’s art critic. E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org