[June 22, 2008
Review: Susan Turcot – bitumen, blood and the carbon climb
In her recent works, Susan Turcot has adopted a variety of reportage techniques and has made a significant point of examining the time-based, processual and functional equation that “live” drawing and its medialized representations can set up for the viewer. She investigates large-scale ecological and economical processes such as deforestation and the exploitation of other natural resources, working and recording in situ and then employing tropes of the illustrative, the diagrammatic, the model-like in juxtaposition. Pencil / graphite drawings of different dimensions expose a vertical layering and, through it, also a historical quality of human industry as an ongoing serious of intrusions. Large mobile-shaped scale models made of welded metal that represent extraction sites are placed in polemic confrontation with a similar-looking model of Abu Ghraib and convey a sense of gnomic materiality that Turcot keeps – in all its first-look didacticist appearance – largely opaque to attempts of easy interpretation. The gnomic character becomes even more important in a row of roughly face-shaped objects on the wall that are made of massive graphite and introduce a conceptual circularity into the structure of the exhibition by intimating that these “masks” could again be used as drawing instruments. Turcot’s approach is based on a highly developed textural and structural sense that she employs in the (long-term) processual visualization of her own becoming an “informed viewer” – as well as a finder of symbolical layers that connect her vision to processes of perception related to ecological facts that have long become almost “unmanageable” in the field of art. Her use of “slow” media like drawing and modeling is complemented by a video animation work that combines a visual accretion of semi-abstract drawn forms with an acoustic environment contributed by percussionist Roger Turner that takes up and counterpoints Turcot’s shifting movements between the naturalistic and the abstract in drawing.
Galerie Arndt & Partner, Zimmerstrasse 90-91 , 10117 Berlin
June 17 – July 19, 2008