Andrei Koschmieder Real Fine Arts / New York

July 15, 2014

Appearances can be deceiving, yet there is a truth in presence nonetheless. “Iodine Poisoning,” the show by Andrei Koschmieder at Real Fine Arts, affords a glimpse at the concealing/revealing conditions of truth. This is an investigation in masking.

Koschmieder draws us in with what appears to be aggressive abstraction, referencing Rothko and Joyce Pensato with the color play of Reinhardt; the “black” is not black but all colors combined, becoming beautifully individualized around the edges of the multiple dark forms. But this is no painting; it’s the evasive cloud of a squid. The squid was stamped on multiple sheets of paper, and inkjet ink was then dripped over the stack. The first papers are almost entirely saturated in ink, totally covering the squid stamp, but as the ink moves through the stack the stain shrinks and the squid is revealed. These papers were then put up wallpaper style, creating a timeline that lures us into the gallery.

On the rear wall hangs a single white box of what looks like painted corrugated metal. On the adjacent wall five of these forms hang side by side. Finally, there is a stack of these same forms, shallow boxes of rippled metal common to budget building, especially quick and dirty construction. The stacks in the back, resting on the floor and two deep, appear to be rusty metal and look as if they were found on the street and brought straight into the gallery. All are simply cast paper. Cheap material imitating cheap material. From the different treatments of this motif emerge questions of cloaking: Is the white hiding the base material it covers, creating “finished” products now made respectable, hanging as artworks? Are the metal ones neglected and left to rust, or waiting to be painted?

In the cracks and crevices of the corrugated forms hide shrimp the artist has made. The mimeses and placement of the shrimp continue the themes of deception/revelation flowing through this show. But the squid, whose power is its ability to conceal, is the linchpin of the show. As it reveals itself, we see that truth is uncovered presence, which this show itself has in spades.

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