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THE VERMEER OF CHILE
by Charlie Finch
 
The most remarkable artwork I have seen in a while is by Gianfranco Foschino, a 27-year-old video-landscape artist from Chile, in a recent two-person show at I-20 Gallery.

Foschino’s images are breathtaking, because he combines a bare naturalism with slow-motion video on a high-def box-shaped screen to convey an intimacy not seen since Vermeer’s View of Delft. The dignity of a woman about to hang out her laundry in La Fenétre (2008) is as majestic as the stunning waterfall in Fluxus (2010), as washed out blues match each other as if touched by the god of the sea, Poseidon.

Foschino dares to posit that beauty undermines poverty in a kind of visual joy. The dignity he gleans and grants in the sparest vision, such as a small girl playing with a broken doll in Barbie (2009), have not been seen at any gallery in New York for a long time. Gone are the demeaning tropes of art-school play, referential irony and cheap visual tricks.

The chickens scurrying to and fro in Home (2010) are slowed down in a logical dance of syncopated joy: we are invited to look and look again until we are part of the picture, as in a Vermeer. Foschino has a website with some video, but whether you go there or to the back room of I-20, please seek out this noble body of work. Afterwards, you will not wish to gaze at much else.

"Almost Romantic: Gianfranco Foschino and Cecilia Nygren," curated by Christopher Eamon at I-20 Gallery, 557 West 23rd Street, New York, N.Y. 10011.


CHARLIE FINCH is co-author of Most Art Sucks: Five Years of Coagula (Smart Art Press).



 



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