Monday, November 7, 2011

Andrew Moszynski

What could be more optimistic than building and fucking? In his show at Valentine, Andrew Moszynski assembles paper planks and platforms into illusions of rectilinear solidity. They cantilever into the clear light of day, supported by happy thoughts. He also devises wallpaper that repeats, potentially endlessly, every possible human coupling. The figures thus engaged sport aboriginal Amazonian haircuts, and are seen from above, as by helicopter. Their dedication provides, if not exactly romance, a cheering argument for species survival.
Moszynski grew up in Buenos Aires, the son of a Polish exile who served as an RAF wing commander during World War II, and who, in its wake, chose to re-settle in the New-World Paris along with many displaced Europeans (including a few on the losing side). As Moszynski was studying architecture, fellow students started disappearing, casualties of the Argentine Dirty War. He has lived in New York since 1977. Soon after his arrival, he ventured forth in the Downtown performance scene, one coup de théâtre at PS1 involving ballroom dancers and opportune technical difficulties. Studio work followed, and gestural oilstick landscapes were shown at the Drawing Center in the 1980s. Of two that were bought by the Metropolitan Museum, the artist speculates: “They are stored in a basement vault between the Lost Ark of the Covenant and Rosebud.”
I repeat this remark as an example of Moszynski’s bi-hemispheric sense of humor, North American Stand Up meets the doomed fables of Borges.
In 1997, exacting color abstractions in enamel were shown at Pierogi 2000. But for the past seven years Moszynski’s work has embraced narrative and the tender efficiencies of the explanatory cartoon, the architectural sketch, the illustrational aside. The new work remains sober, even grave, yet goes right for punch lines –– of a kind. About representation. About gesture and display. About human morphology. About the minimum signal needed at the edge of noise.
Along with the platforms and the “YMF” wallpaper (for “Yearly Mass Fuck”) Moszynski will show numerous small drawings that likewise suggest a very cautious optimism. Two examples to whet the appetite: A man leans the top of his head against a tree, circling himself with his shadow. Is he in sorrow, or resignation, or just obeying an enterprising structural logic? An exhausted man emerges from a cave into blinding sunlight. A guilty-looking rag dangles from his hand. Is he a murderer, a masturbator, a survivor of a mine accident? Is he the artist overwhelmed by the light at the end of the tunnel?

David Brody