White Drops Tobias Pils, Barbara Levittoux-Świderska and Seth Price
Curated by Regina Fiorito Belenius, Stockholm April 28 - May 20, 2023
Barbara Levittoux-Świderska, White Drops (Białe krople), 1997, plastic foil, sisal, 230 x 260 cm
I once found myself lost in a city, its faces, sounds, scents, and crevices. Overrun by the incessant stream of fragmentary images that pass through the senses and seep into the mind. Faced with overwhelming stream of impressions, Rilke spoke in his letters of slowly learning to recognize “something solitary that one can gently take part in.”
In my mind that “something solitary” has always been akin to accessing a place of shadows; you go behind the thing attempting to, almost blindly, weave together strands of memory. And in a way these works could be seen as transforming the gallery space into such a place, a monochromatic landscape of shadows and fragments. Can the fragmentary ever be assembled to liken something complete?
At the core of Barbara Levittoux-Świderska’s imposing monochromatic textile works characterized by an organic fluidity is the artist’s craftsmanship. Levittoux-Świderska constructed her textile works from less conventional materials often combining artificial with natural materials such as plastic foil and sisal as in the present case. The weaving method of exposing the threads that would otherwise lay hidden behind the surface of the tapestry creates a sense of intimacy. At the same time there is a strong sense of defiance and a discarding of pretentions. The tapestry is not a tightly sewn together entity hanging flat on a wall. Shreds, or rather fragments, of material are instead seemingly loosely bound together to form an entity albeit a fragile one.
The works of Tobias Pils are reminiscent of a dream landscape populated by figurative and abstract elements in tones ranging primarily from white through grey to black. I attempt to dissect the fragments I encounter – a feather here, a square there and a human form somewhere else – at an attempt to assess the whole. Pils’ compositions masterfully draw the viewer in, transforming the eye into a camera lens zooming in and out of the works. The viewer is tempted to delve deeper; there are stories to be heard in these nocturnal landscapes that unfold. And the figures Pils puts forth are their echoes, the fragments of such tales.
Seth Price, Untitled, 2008, relief-print on Monoprint on Arches Paper behind Mylar, 113 x 76,5 cm
Seth Price’s vacuum formed female breast protruding out of a white vacuum-formed high-impact polystyrene surface stamped with the year of “production” 2008 screams “plastic fantastic” and yet I am brought to consider the method employed. Molding the body is an attempt to reproduce it, and thus duplication implies a commercialization. However, what is reproduced is a shell and what remains behind the mold, the shiny plastic exterior in its shadow, is simply a vacant spot, a fantom.
The exhibition lends its title from one of the exhibited works by Levittoux-Świderska White Drops. In their interaction the exhibited artists’ works begin to resemble a dance of shadows swaying the way Levittoux-Świderska’s sculptural textile works adapt to the movements in the room. In essence what one could make out is the fragmentary nature permeating form and composition and thus our seeing and interpretation of them. I am led to consider whether the fragmentary is all there is. And it is fluid – white drops ever flowing.