Tauba Auerbach is active/lives in New York, California. Tauba Auerbach is known for non objective painting, installation.
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Biography from Christie's New York, Rockefeller Center
Compellingly perplexing as well as beautifully resonant abstract
surfaces, Auerbach's works take time to unpack visually, giving us cause
to consider the implications of, and the intentions behind, her
processes of reversal and revealment
-J. Hoffmann, Vitamin P2 New Perspectives in Paintings, 2011, p. 34.
Biography from Sotheby's New York
Ever inventive, bridging high art and design with the new modes and
mediums of the Information Era, Tauba Auerbach creates work that is both
sensual and mathematical, melding the bold, heroic assertions of late
Modernism with the cool and careful syntactics of Post-modernity. Crumple IV - one of seven from her 2008 Crumple series -presents the viewer with a canvas of tightly-packed black Benday dots recalling Bridget Riley's Op-Art masterpiece, Fission (1963) or the Pop Art of Roy Lichtenstein, shorn of irony.
At over six feet high, Crumple IV
engulfs the view with its commanding scale and dazzling optical buzz.
Monochromatic from afar, the canvas appears as though it has been wadded
up and crinkled, only to be re-stretched on a frame, creases intact.
Upon closer inspection, what appeared rumpled at a distance is as taut
and smooth as any other canvas. Its dots emerge and the surface seems
literally to vibrate and pulsate as the eye strives to apprehend its
And yet, Auerbach eschews the kind of optical illusion that so often exhausts itself once the trompe l'oeil is comprehended - the Crumple
series has layers to spare. It is, in fact, a transposition on canvas
of a photograph of a piece of crumpled paper, reproduced with UV inkjet
and fused with a pointillist field of acrylic black dots.
process is thus as important to her Crumple series as its abstract visual textures. Wit marries instinct, culminating into a work that operates between order and chaos.
Auerbach's process both informs and belies first impressions, revealing a
rigorous conceptual framework upon closer inspection. Should viewers
find themselves second-guessing, that is by design. As Auerbach
explains, she hopes to provoke in her viewers "confusion and then
clarity and then confusion again." (T. Auerbach, quoted by L. Turvey,
"Art in Review," ArtForum , September 2009, p. 230).
ambiguities - a hallmark of abstraction - obey a cool, meticulous logic
underneath, placing Auerbach in close kinship with artists such as
Brigit Riley and Sol LeWitt, whose exercises were similarly exacting.
So, too, does Auerbach's process give a nod to Art History -particularly
in her experiments melding painterly abstraction with industrial,
post-Warholian print-making. Gerhard Richter's Strontium (2005) -
named for a synthetic substance used to make fake diamonds - is a clear
referent, as much for its underlying method as for its repeating
pattern of dots and illusory depth.
Other points of reference would of
course point to Roy Lichtenstein and Sigmar Polke's dot paintings that
emerged from the 1960s. For as large as Lichtenstein looms over any work
that uses the Benday dot, works like Polke's Don Quixote (1968)
provide the more apt analogue. While Auerbach clearly fetishes and
magnifies the aesthetics of mass print and design culture like
Lichtenstein did, she activates those obsessions in a way more closely
aligned with Polke - as a means to question and undermine the stability
and authority of the printed image.
Hers is above all a visually tactile
oeuvre that the invites eye to probe and caress its surfaces, however
illusory. Crumple IV resists passivity and avoids narrative.
That she has updated ideas like Polke's for today's age of digital
manipulation makes her work all the more poignant and exciting.
Auerbach's work exists in a rarely explored, ambiguous territory, in
which the artist intersects mathematical, logical and art historical
concerns and interlaces them into a rich tapestry unifying both surface
As Jeffrey Deitch describes as "[her work is] instilled with
conceptual rigor and philosophical challenge. She has been able to
update the type of conceptual structures in the work of an earlier
generation of artists like Sol LeWitt to the digital age... extend[ing]
the tradition of modern abstraction painting into a contemporary
context, both conceptually and formally" (J. Deitch, The Painting Factory: Abstraction after Warhol,
exh. cat., Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, 2012, p. 7).
of today's most talked-about and original artists, her work has found
homes in exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art PS1, New York; San
Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco (where Crumple II
resides in the permanent collection); the New Museum, New York; Castello
di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art, Turin; and The Whitney Biennial,
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, among others.
impulse and calculus, abstraction and tech savvy, her work is beautiful
and beguiling, "collapsing order and chaos into a unified state." (T.
Auerbach, quoted in D. Kazanjian, 'Optic Nerve', American Vogue, January 2009, p. 141).
"Auerbach further questions the strength of the divide between order and
chaos in her 2008 Crumple series. These works recall the 1960s Op art
matrices of Bridget Riley, yet Auerbach's paintings have conceptual
underpinnings. In this series, the 'optical' pattern is derived from
photographs of crumpled paper, which are meticulously reproduced with
painted black dots. In her illusionistic two-dimensional representation
of a three-dimensional quality, Auerbach challenges the limitations of
dimensionality and presents the possibility that order and chaos are
-M. Norton, 'Tauba Auerbach', 2010 Whitney Biennial cataloge, exh. cat., Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 2010, p.24.
“I probably think about higher spatial dimensions more than any other
aspect of my practice. At the root of my interest is the question of
what consciousness is: what it's made of and what its limitations might
be. As creatures that operate in three dimensions, what capacity do we
have to conceive of a dimension that's beyond, or even coiled within,
the space that we experience?” Tauba Auerbach
Biography from Phillips London
Tauba Auerbach's sensational Fold paintings have received
widespread critical acclaim since their debut in 2009. Minimal and
abstract yet immediately recognizable in their distinctive luminosity
and delicately textured surfaces, the Fold paintings are
rapturing in their elegant beauty as well as the psychological intrigue
and optical manipulations central to Auerbach’s artistic approach and
Untitled (Fold), glows with
iridescent hues characterized by a harmonious mixture of golden, canary
yellow, and green tones, exemplary of the artist's fixation with
tetrachromatic palettes. The abstract patterns that appear as
three-dimensional folds and creases are in fact optical illusions deftly
crafted by the artist, recently cemented as the defining feature of
Auerbach’s enchanting and greatly marveled paintings.
It is difficult not to be drawn in by the rich surface and suggestive textures of Untitled (Fold),
and the realization that such voluminous and undulating folds are in
fact a perfectly flat surface, simply illuminates the work as a
masterpiece of Contemporary trompe-l’oeil.
Auerbach’s method consists of
first pressing and folding the canvas, then restretching it after a
network of impressions have been achieved. The raw canvas is then
sprayed with industrial paint, often of a single dominant hue with
metallic tones, at several angles that ultimately result in a
fascinating composition of tonal patterns that give off the optical
illusion of three-dimensional space on a flat surface. All Fold paintings have a distinctive pattern and chromatic scheme systematically arranged and paired by the artist.
Proficient in art, math and physics as well as linguistics, Auerbach
has focused her artistic output on the exploration of spatial dimensions
and perception. Through painting patterns, symmetry and symbols, the
artist attempts to reveal new dimensional richness both within and
beyond the limits of perception. According to the artist, the
disciplines of art, science, math and language are interconnected in
that they ultimately converge into one unifying field in how they shape
human perception and experience of the world – affecting not only our
spatial perception but also our color recognition. Topology, the
mathematical study of shapes, has long been a preoccupation of Auerbach,
prompting the artist to formulate a system of formulas and methods
aimed at challenging conventional logic and perceptions of space.
evidenced in Untitled (Fold), the artist successfully stretches
our limits of perception by essentially obliterating any difference
between two and three dimensional fields. Auerbach’s interest in flatness, depth and the unsettled nature of
spatial experience resonates with conceptual works of masters from
When famed Italian conceptual artist Rudolf Stingel
covered all the walls and floors of the entire exhibition space of the
Palazzo Grassi in Venice with carpets and paintings during the city’s
Biennale in 2013, the artist created a complex interplay between
two-dimensional mediums and three-dimensional spaces, transforming what
were once mere flat surfaces into three-dimensional installations. Such
expansion of a painting’s physical borders translates to Auerbach’s
paintings in the optical illusions she creates–placing these objects in a
paradoxical state somewhere between volume and flatness and reality and
Such conflation of space, the interplay between flat
surface and three-dimensionality, further recalls the works of Lucio
Fontana and his famous tagli paintings. By puncturing his
canvases with holes and slashes, Fontana essentially gives his flat
images a sculpted quality that ultimately elevates the work to a realm
hovering between painting and sculpture, image and object with both two-
and three-dimensional qualities.
The allure of Auerbach’s paintings reside in their ability to
challenge our perception, expectation and logic, ultimately inspired by
the artist’s desire to deconstruct existing assumptions. Her works, as
evidenced in Untitled (Fold), are wondrous mosaics of colors
that are at once both cerebral and sensual.
As Auerbach herself
proclaims, “I think I always make work about logic in some way. Taking
things that are assumed to be linear and making them double back on
themselves or knotting them up…posing questions to myself about the way I
was taught to think and reason. Posing questions about the structure of
a question. For a long time, language was sort of the medium I was
using to try these things out, but now I’m working almost entirely
abstractly. There is less opportunity to take this work literally, and I
think that shifts the focus of inquiry onto the viewer in a good way.”
artist's remarkable oeuvre continuously engages with the limitations of
the sometimes hidden structures and systems that underpin perceptible
reality. Specifically, Auerbach is deeply concerned with the points at
which theses fail and in turn produce new visual and poetic
possibilities. Through her insightful exploration of such limits, the
artist delicately merges both the literal and illusory. Consequently her
work astutely reassesses not only the boundaries between written
language and meaning, but also the binary oppositions between flatness
and three-dimensionality, order and disorder. Auerbach describes her
work as an attempt to expose "new spectral and dimensional richness…both
within and beyond the limits of perception." (Paula Cooper Gallery, Tauba Auerbach Float, New York, 5 May - 9 June, 2012 www.paulacoopergallery.com)
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is an exquisite illustration of these investigations; its form
oscillates between the supposedly incompatible second and third
dimension, thus challenging the viewer to confront the distinctions
between image, dimensionality and content. The artist articulates her
intentions with this eloquent series, "for the last two years I have
tried to conjure four-dimensional space. The Fold paintings are my
effort to construct a portal through which to summon - or at least
imagine - this inaccessible hyper-spatial reality." She
masterfully utilizes the 'trompe l'oeil' technique that leads the viewer
to believe they are observing the three dimensional surface of creased
paper. Upon approaching, one realizes the canvas is actually stretched
taut over the supporting wooden frame.
The intriguing process
used to produce this composition involves manipulating a large piece of
canvas into various configurations by rolling, ironing and pressing it,
so that folds are embedded in the material. The resulting creases span
horizontally, vertically and diagonally in a grid-like pattern. It is
then spread out onto a flat surface and paint is applied with an
industrial spray gun, while still retaining three-dimensional contours.
This mechanical means of production elevates the creative practice to
one beyond the artist's hand - indeed, beyond the formulaic patterns
underpinning this compelling abstraction. By spraying a range of tones
of a single, monochrome color onto the folded object, the artist
further accentuates the ultimately convincing illusory effect. Untitled (Fold)
typifies the uniquely profound meeting of artistic intention and chance
so important to the series as a cohesive, unified whole.
of the gradually refined process, Auerbach notes: "Because I spray the
creased canvas directionally, the pigment acts like a raking light and
freezes a likeness of the contoured materials onto itself. It develops
like a photo as I paint. The record of that topological moment is
carried forward after the material is stretched flat. Each point on the
surface contains a record of itself in that previous state."
(Christopher Bedford, Dear Painter …, Frieze Magazine, Issue
145, March 2012).
Therefore, rather than being representative, these
canvases express actual folds that occurred in time. By recording a past
state onto the finished work, this process produces paintings that
exist in what the artist herself refers to as "the 2.5th dimension".
These optical thought experiments are able to destabilize our basic
assumptions about the reliability of vision, and open our eyes to the
delight of temporary disconnections with an observable reality. By
drawing attention to the process of their own making, Auerbach's Fold paintings
reflect upon the cultural paradox between illusion and abstraction and
open up a space of possibility for a new kind of realism.
Auerbach draws much of her inspiration from mathematics and physics,
her visual output intersects equally with the perennial themes of art
history. Conceptually, Untitled (Fold) alludes to the ancient
pictorial tradition of representing drapery and folded cloth associated
with historically prominent European artists. By ostensibly avoiding
narrative and making the surface itself the subject of the work, the
artist emphasizes, in a manner reminiscent of the Abstract
Expressionists of the 1950s, the illusory nature of painting itself.
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