Fridman Gallery presents Edge of Eden, the first solo exhibition with the gallery by German painter, Alina Grasmann.
The exhibition presents two bodies of works, West of Eden (2017) and Paper Town (2018). Both series investigate notions of paradise, fiction, trickery, and perception. Edge of Eden teeters at the ever-so-fleeting margin between artifice and reality.
West of Eden is a series of large-scale paintings that place elements of other, historical figurative paintings within the industrial architecture of Dia Beacon, a landmark of Minimalist art. Grasmann has strategically placed the figures, such as Melchior d'Hondecoeter’s birds and Vincent Van Gogh's sunflowers, inside the converted factory building, next to sculptures by Dan Flavin and Bruce Nauman. By doing so, the artist has decontextualized the work, creating a sense of whimsy and fantasy amidst the highly classified space of the museum and academic art historical cannon.
Paper Town creates subtle spectacle between place and longing. The 40 small-scale oils on paper depict the facades of Agloe, NY, a town that began as a “copyright trap” – a deliberate typo by mapmakers to catch illegal copying. In Grasmann’s paintings, devoid of people and depth, the houses are engulfed in alien flora, underscoring both the town’s fictitious status and appearances of reality through the her perspective.
The vegetation that haunts Paper Town is also glimpsed through the Dia’s iconic glass tiles in West of Eden, creating a sort of horizon line between the two series. The works in the exhibition comprise a geographically definitive, yet eerily out-of-place playground alluding to the edge of something, another reality. By harnessing that conceptual landscape, Grasmann creates her own minimalist visual language - figuration that shuns any sense of narrative. What is left is a representation of fiction, as truth.