Rosemarie Trockel's Cosmos

Karen Kedmey
Nov 19, 2012 5:04AM

Where to begin?

Entering Rosemarie Trockel's cosmos at the New Museum, you could begin where museums condition you to begin, at the introductory wall text, in this case found next to the elevators leading to and from each gallery.  If you choose to take the stairs, you will miss the introductory wall text and will instead open a heavy metal door onto a disarming constellation of objects that has no fixed point of origin--you will have to orient yourself.  Or, surrendering yourself completely to the compelling logic of Trockel's world, you could begin at what she designates as the beginning: a compact, brightly lit, white-tiled room containing a small selection of her work.

Among the objects in this room--the germ within the germ--is Trockel's Replace Me (2011), a digital print of Courbet's The Origin of the World (1866) with an inky-black tarantula standing in for the pubic hair.  It is a menacing, visceral, and darkly seductive vision, an origin of a world that is at once awesome, exquisite, sweet, thrilling, weird, frightening, funny, abject, ordered, chaotic, raw, and refined.  Trockel's world is a model of the world, except its underlying structure is different.  It is based on parity--between man and nature, micro and macro, professional and intuitive, the feminine and the masculine.  A vision that is both subversive and sincere.

Karen Kedmey