The Return of Rococo in Contemporary Culture, Danielle Thom, δημοσίευση στο ArtReview [8/11/2022]Marilena Pateraki
Three centuries after its original incarnation, its pretty, ornate style is everywhere – from art fairs to the ‘avant basic’ aesthetic
Europe reels from a series of financial shocks. A controversial vaccine keeps a serious disease at bay. Russia invades a neighbouring nation. Those who can afford to do so escape the unrelenting grimness by indulging in pretty, pastel maximalism. This is not 2022 – it’s 1722, and the elegant whimsy of rococo art and architecture offers some respite from smallpox and stock market bubbles.
Three centuries later, and we are ripe for a return to rococo. In its original incarnation, it was a style characterised by lightness, asymmetric curves and an overabundance of natural motifs; particularly seashells and acanthus leaves. The word ‘rococo’ comes from the French ‘rocaille’, rock-like, alluding to the eighteenth-century vogue for encrusting small grottos with broken stones and seashells. It was at once charming and, literally, grotesque; a delicate nod to decay. Perhaps it’s the conscious artificiality of rococo that makes it so apposite for the present moment, a firmly tongue-in-cheek aesthetic that offers us a way to navigate our desire for pleasure in a painful world.
At this year’s Frieze London, three presentations nodded to the new mood: Karla Black at Gisela Capitain, Pablo Bronstein at Cristea Roberts and Michaela Yearwood-Dan at Marianne Boesky. An ethereal pink cloud suspended in mid-air, Black’s What To Ask Of Others (2011) immediately called to mind Fragonard’s The Swing (1767), at once joyful and melancholy in its transience. Black’s sculpture seems to reduce the rustling silken skirts of the swinging girl to a kind of formal essence; an approach also adopted by several contemporary painters, Yearwood-Dan among them. These artists are co-opting the formal gestures of rococo and translating them into a new, abstract but still recognisable visual language. Marijke Vasey has made a speciality of ‘frame paintings’, her deft brushstrokes conjuring up the suggestion of ornate scrolling borders. Hovering somewhere between figurative painting and abstraction, meanwhile, is the work of Flora Yukhnovich (also at Frieze London, with Victoria Miro), whose bold canvases provide a sense of what might happen if you typed ‘sexy Tiepolo’ into DALL-E. Given the commercial success of Yukhnovich’s work – her 2020 painting I’ll Have What She’s Having sold at auction for £2.3 million in 2021, against an estimate of £80,000 – there’s clearly an appetite for this reworked rococo.
Η συνέχεια εδώ.