Parkett Editions, Zurich

Parkett, No. 90: El Anatsui, Nathalie Djurberg, Rashid Johnson, R.H. Quaytman ISBN 978-3-907583-50-3

Parkett, No. 90: El Anatsui, Nathalie Djurberg, Rashid Johnson, R.H. Quaytman ISBN 978-3-907583-50-3

parkett 90: el anatsui, nathalie djurberg, rashid johnson, r.h. quaytman isbn 978-3-907583-50-3

Parkett 90: El Anatsui, Nathalie Djurberg, Rashid Johnson, R.H. Quaytman ISBN 978-3-907583-50-3, 2012

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Parkett 90 features collaborations with El Anatsui, Nathalie Djurberg, Rashid Johnson, and R.H. Quaytman. Additional texts focus on Robert Crumb (by Vincent Katz), Corinne Wasmuth (by Christina Végh), Danh Vo (by Miriam Varadinis), and Hanuman Books (by Matthew Erickson). Rounding out the issue are a conversation between Mark Grotjahn and Malerie Marder, and the multi-page Insert by Boris Mikhailov.

According to Chika Okeke-Agulu, El Anatsui’s sculptures affirm that no condition is permanent in modern Africa. Okwui Enwezor elaborates on Anatsui’s work with his hands, which flatten aluminum bottle caps, twist copper wires into tendrils of metal, and suture panels, turning labor into beauty. Robert Storr characterizes the sixty-seven-year-old Ghanaian-born, Nigeria-based artist as a man with unusual ambition who always plays to win. For his Parkett edition “Diaspora” Anatsui has created a stitched pigment-printed cotton cloth with hand-finished edges, capturing all the detail and colors of a large wall hanging through a breathtaking rendering in this new medium.

Nathalie Djurberg’s collaboration includes texts by Martin Herbert, Ali Subotnick, and Eric Crosby, the last of whom describes the artist’s abject characters “spiraling out of control amidst the wreckage” of their world. Searching for comparisons, Massimiliano Gioni recalls Ovid’s Metamorphoses or the dark fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm: “a bewitched landscape in which characters seem to ask themselves ‘Why do I live in a human body, when all my instincts and desires are so animalistic?’” For her Parkett edition “Eggs”, Djurberg has hand-painted thirty-eight unique heads of fantastical characters, some featuring carrots for noses, banana slices for eyes, or simply a mischievous grin. The collaboration also includes a music CD by Hans Berg entitled “Gas, Solid, Liquid”, inserted in the entire print run of this Parkett.

Rashid Johnson talks with his friend and sometime collaborator Matthew Day Jackson, while Franklin Sirmans comments on an ambiguous moment in art he calls “Post-Black”: “Rather than deny the box drawn around his practice, Johnson daringly invites it: ‘I am a Negro artist demagogue producing work that allows me to embrace and reject any cultural signifiers that I choose to confront.’” Tom Morton describes Johnson’s shelf-pieces, stacked with books by prominent African-American authors, LP sleeves by Parliament and Al Green, shea butter, houseplants, and CB radios, as a seemingly dull agglomeration that through the artist’s arrangement begins to gleam and glitter. In his Cosmic Slop series, black soap and wax combine in works that could literally melt at any moment. “Their larval surfaces,” Morton writes, “suggest infinite, fluid blackness.” For his Parkett edition, titled “I Love Music”, Johnson cast a bronze from carved wax, with a wink back at Parkett.

In her text on R.H. Quaytman, Jaleh Mansoor speaks of painting as a window—how it becomes, once again, the apparatus of mediation that frustrates perspective, memory, and futurity. Rhea Anastas articulates how Quaytman’s visual vocabulary of composed segments systematizes into the chapters of a lifelong book. Daniel Heller-Roazen traces the harmony of proportions back through history: “Friedrich Hölderlin devised a far-reaching doctrine of sections, drawing from the ancient theory of means . . . what he called a ‘mechanics’ of poetic representation. ”Here we come to grasp the elusive mechanics of R. H. Quaytman. In her Parkett edition “Proclitic” Quaytman gives us an intimate, visually stunning lithograph on reflective stainless steel in which the mirrored environment and viewer is always present.

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