AO On Site: New York: Caro Niederer ‘Paintings’ at Hauser & Wirth through July 27, 2012

July 7th, 2012

Caro Niederer, Karen Blixen’s Garden (2006) All images courtesy Hauser & Wirth unless otherwise noted.

Until July 27, Hauser & Wirth Gallery hosts 18 paintings by the Swiss artist Caro Niederer. Consistent, engrossing movement synthesizes a wide variety of subject and scale. Niederer’s work since 1990 is presented in a ‘capsule survey’ in a skylit room towards the rear of the gallery. Sprinkled throughout this room are illustrations from the Kama Sutra in which a burgeoning fascination with narrative is apparent. These walls serve to acclimate the visitor to a stimulating use of color in Niederer’s larger-scale work.

Caro Niederer, Rajastan, Indien, ca. 1880 (1993)

Caro Niederer, Venus (1991)

Exhibition view. All photos on site by Anna Corrigan for Art Observed.

The strength of this collection lies in the artist’s remarkable ability to resist static capture, and instead to tap into the productive exchange that continually develops between artist, spectator, and material. Niederer’s process of production encompasses a range of media from video to sculpture. Originating from a personal snapshot, postcard, or moment, this material is harnessed and translated into paint on canvas. Though triggered by found documents, this work is far from photorealistic. Niederer’s later work especially communicates a dizzying nostalgia inspired by found and cherished pieces of evidence. Her sepia-toned ‘Brown Paintings’ series suggests a literal translation of the photographic moment, though later work shows a far more abstract interpretation of form.

Exhibition view

Caro Niederer, Chitose-Bashi Bridge from the Boat-House (1991)

Caro Niederer, Kyusui-Tei Pavillion in Autumn (1991)

Exhibition View

Exhibition View

The simple title of this exhibition (‘Caro Niederer. Paintings’) seems a deflation of the multiple material and procedural layers that contribute to the existence of this work. The layers of memory, relationship, and movement are so apparent in the fabric of Niederer’s process that to designate a single medium to this body of work seems irrelevant. Caro Niederer’s work invites the viewer to stay. These visual translations speak beautifully to the passage of time and the fact that all artwork, even when framed and mounted on a gallery wall, is a living and changing organism.

—A. Corrigan

Related Links:

Hauser & Wirth [Exhibition Site]