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Malmo Konsthall announce Tauba Auerbach. Tetrachromat

The Malmo Konsthall presents Tauba Auerbach, Tetrachromat, an exhibition on view 17 March–10 June.

In Tauba Auerbach’s work traditional distinctions between image, dimensionality and content collapse. Surface, specifically the larger issues surrounding topology, has been a central concern in her recent paintings, drawings, photographs and artist’s books. Auerbach interweaves discordant positions such as disorder and order, readability and abstraction, permeability and solidity—phenomena that are usually viewed as incompatible—into unified surfaces and volumes.

The title of the exhibition plays on the notion of ‘tetrachromatic’ vision. People normally perceive the world around them trichromatically (in three colours). Humans have three types of receptor for the perception of colour with varying sensitivities: red, green and blue. A new theory exists that there may be a small percentage of people (only women) who have a fourth colour receptor, which makes them ‘tetrachromatic’. In order to play on such ideas of a fourth component which, if it could be proven, would radically change our view of the world, Auerbach employs two analogies in this exhibition—the spatial (the idea of a fourth dimension) and the spectral (a fourth colour spectrum).

Since 2009, Auerbach has created a body of work she calls “fold paintings”. Inasmuch as they obscure the boundaries between two- and three-dimensionality, these paintings can be understood as an analogy that raises the possibility of a concept of four dimensions. In these paintings she twists and folds the canvas, ironing or pressing it in such a way that the folds are embedded in the material. Then the canvas is spread out and spray-painted while it still has its three-dimensional contour. The result—after the paint has dried and the canvas has been stretched—is an almost perfect registration of the previous three-dimensional form of the surface. The surface takes on a trompe l’oeil effect as a convincing reproduction of three-dimensional form on a surface, not unlike traditional mimetic painting—but in this case based on inventiveness rather than painterly virtuosity.

Although Auerbach draws much of her inspiration from mathematics and physics, her visual investigations deal equally with the basic themes of art history. Her paintings raise fundamental issues in new ways, among them the depiction of three-dimensional reality on a two-dimensional surface, and the relationship between abstraction and representation.

Tauba Auerbach (b. 1981) lives and works in New York.

The exhibition has been initiated by Bergen Kunsthall, and is a collaboration between Malmö Kunsthall and WIELS Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels Curator: Solveig Øvstebø

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