What constitutes a painting, a sculpture, a drawing or a photograph? What are the material, conceptual, and social conditions of its existence? And how do they affect a work’s physical, psychological, and political impact? What is the furthest an idea or object can be pushed, stretched, stressed, or tested before losing its direction and character altogether—or simply becoming something else? Such questions are at the core of the work of Argentinian artist Analia Saban, who assumes a forensic attitude towards media and their traditions and conventions.
Surveying art history as if it was a “murder scene,” she plumbs the histories of painting, drawing, sculpture, and photography to challenge their limits and capacities by making the constituent parts of each medium the very subject matter of her inquiry. Saban is also committed to showing how every medium is material of this world. Gender, labor, and social context haunt her abstractions, exposing the ideological repercussions of what it means to go deep into the aesthetic properties and possibilities of any medium.
Taking The Painting Ball (48 Abstract, 42 Landscapes, 23 Still Lives, 11 Portraits, 2 Religious, 1 Nude) as a point of departure, this exhibition is Saban’s first solo museum survey to consider the artist’s expansive scope of work developed over the past ten years. A sphere made of colored strips of fabric torn from a plethora of unraveled paintings, The Painting Ball performs the undoing of painting in its traditional form to mark a tabula rasa moment that inscribes Saban’s project firmly into the canonical narrative of painting’s many deaths and resurrections. [...]
Whether it is subjecting paints and inks to sculptural processes such as casting and assemblage or using marble, concrete, porcelain or photographs for painterly purposes, Saban insists on a speculative condition for her work within the context of media-determinacy.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website
Whether or not you go, Analia Saban showcases ten years of her deep investigations into the possibilities of both the process and the mediums of art-making. Her work is presented here alongside major new texts on the artist from Johanna Burton and exhibition curator Claudia Schmuckli. Whether casting paints and ink into sculpture, or using marble, concrete, porcelain or photographs for painterly purposes, Los Angeles–based Saban (born 1980) has stretched the limits of material and media in often unexpected ways. Her concern is for the component materials from which art, particularly painting, is made, and her explorations have teased out the hidden ideological and political repercussions of those materials and the forms they take.