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Behind the Curtain

January 7, 2015 | by

New paintings by Mamma Andersson.

Andersson-Stays

Mamma Andersson, Stays, 2014, oil on panel, 39 3/8" x 56 3/8". Courtesy David Zwirner, New York/London

Mamma Andersson’s new exhibition “Behind the Curtain” opens tomorrow at David Zwirner. Andersson, who was born in Sweden and lives in Stockholm, paints with a muted palette—she tends to draw from old photographs and films, theater sets, and well-preserved interiors. There’s a look-but-don’t-touch quality to her subjects, as if she’s visited some quiet museum, or snuck backstage, and has decided to flout the no-photography policy by simply painting the view instead. And so what should feel aloof or antiquated feels intimate, almost even illicit. These are things we’re used to seeing at a remove or covered in dust: busts, stays, thrones. Looking at her paintings reminds me of that voguish phrase, secret history, that’s cropped up in dozens of titles and subtitles lately.

“All of us who’ve become artists, musicians, poets, dancers, film directors—God knows what—we were all once children who loved to delve into our other ego, where anarchy and limitlessness reigns,” she told BOMB in 2007: “If (healthy) schizophrenia can keep capitalism at bay, maybe we all should be much more schizophrenic than we are. I think it’s nice to be muddled.”

“Behind the Curtain” is at David Zwirner through February 14.

Andersson-Deadheads

Mamma Andersson, Deadheads, 2014, oil on panel, 39 3/8" x 49 1/4" x 7/8". Courtesy David Zwirner, New York/London

 

Andersson-Le-Charme

Mamma Andersson, Le Charme Discret de la Bourgeoisie, 2014, oil on panel 49 1/4" x 59 1/8". Courtesy David Zwirner, New York/London

 

Andersson-Mimicry

Mamma Andersson, Mimicry, 2014, oil on panel, 49 1/4" x 39 3/8". courtesy David Zwirner, New York/London

 

Andersson_Ceremony

Mamma Andersson, Ceremony, 2014, oil and acrylic on panel, 43 3/8" x 38 1/4". Courtesy David Zwirner, New York/London

Dan Piepenbring is the web editor of The Paris Review.

4 COMMENTS

3 Comments

  1. Samuel D. | January 7, 2015 at 4:49 pm

    “I think it’s nice to be muddled.” Idk. Probably not if you’re the muddled one. Is a good enough product enough? Idk.

    She doesn’t seem to place much on the face. It’s all very stiff. I don’t know how I feel about that. Nice shadows. Backgrounds remind me of Gauguin for some reason.

  2. T | January 7, 2015 at 5:22 pm

    Her name is Karin! Mamma (“mother”) is just a nickname, she goes by Karin Mamma Andersson.

  3. Dan Piepenbring | January 7, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    Thank you, T—understood, but I’m following her gallery’s convention. They refer to her as Mamma Andersson.

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