Pace Gallery, Oct 2012


A sign of the continuing reversal in the art world is that these Mark Rothko paintings probably rely on black and white photographs by Hiroshi Sugimoto for contemporary relevance, at this inaugural show at Pace. From a dramatic monochromatic sensibility to the one inch wide paint-free borders everything is inspired. These final works may be his finest. But the official terms of surrender by the old art establishment has been signed, along with the lease to the west wing of the Royal Academy.

This venue relies very much on natural light. Consequently, on a typically overcast English Autumn afternoon, it feels as mausoleum-like as a set from Citizen Kane, appropriately somber and meditative on this occasion

As for juxtaposing these works, It should be remembered that both are uniquely, available to Pace; they could, so they did. The motivations, process, meaning, aesthetic and location in any narrative may overlap in places but it is beguiling rather than a real dialogue.

Wolfgang Tillmans showed his reductive thinking not long ago at the Serpentine when he exhibited blank sheets of colour print paper, side-stepping lens based image-making. Sugimoto resolutely maintains a conduit to the world but similarly his interest is with the capabilities of print paper. His perfectly executed, definitive tonal choices are like a chord struck on a piano with zen like power and spiritual feeling, and left to resonate through an empty room as if forever.


(until 17th November 2012)