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Beatrice Caracciolo
Construction
1996
Villa Medici, Rome
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SPEEDING BULLET
by Donald Kuspit


The photograph on the catalogue cover says it all: Beatrice Caracciolo is on the move, devolving into a blur, leaving traces of her movement in her drawings, their lines like raw nerves, agitated yet nonetheless steady on their meteoric trajectory, tumbling over themselves yet never quite falling out of the space of the paper -- "Life Lines," in fact, as she calls a 1999 series, and she holds onto them for dear life, rising and falling with their eccentric rhythm, holding their own even as they release waves of energy into the void that is the white space of the paper. It remains open-ended and unperturbed, however much it swarms with lines, sometimes forming a broad horizon, suggesting that Caracciolo has no horror vacui but a peculiar affection for the infinity the emptiness signals. Existentialists speak of "dreadful freedom," and Erich Fromm famously argued that we are all eager to "escape from freedom," so terrifying is the feeling of aliveness that informs it, but Caracciolo’s drawings, with their aggressive yet oddly fragile lines, often intersecting yet maintaining their separateness and individuality, suggests that there is no escape from freedom and dread -- not even in the ocean whose movement is often her point of departure, as though her lines were mnemonic traces of its self-involved flow. Her drawings remind us that we still live in an "Age of Anxiety," but that we can endure it by making art that distills its anxiety, thus finding freedom in anxiety.

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