Avigdor Arikha: Art of Pain

Avigdor Arikha, Self-Portrait in a Fuchsia Shirt, 1987. (© The Estate of Avigdor
Avigdor Arikha, Self-Portrait in a Fuchsia Shirt, 1987. (© The Estate of Avigdor Arikha, courtesy Marlborough Gallery, New York)

Jonathan Wilson reviews the exhibition Avigdor Arikha: Works from the Estate at Marlborough Gallery, New York, on view through April 21, 2012. The post also includes an extensive interview with Noga Arikha, the artist's daughter.

Wilson writes: "Its tempting to view Arikha’s work as that of a gorgeous throwback, as Michael Kimmelman parsed it a few years ago, the production of an artist who reminds us 'what craft means and how pleasurable it is to see.' But there’s something at once darker and more forceful going on in his work: The empty armchair and the black corner of a portfolio resist narrative, but the objects signify nonetheless. Here's the way in which I think they do: In Rilke’s ninth Duino elegy, the poet writes, 'Perhaps we are here in order to say: house, bridge, fountain, gate, pitcher, fruit tree, window … but to say them … more intensely than the Things themselves ever dreamed of existing.' There is precisely this heightened intensity in Arikha's baskets of fruit, pots of flowers, files and boxes, suitcases, and coats on pegs."

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