Analia Saban: Faults and Folds
Sprüth Magers: Los Angeles
By Amy Kaeser
Through August 19th
Analia Saban’s exhibition of new work now on view at Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles, Folds and Faults combines the intricate sculptural techniques of a master sculptor and the attention to detail of a skilled painter. Saban’s paintings push the traditional definition of what it is to make a painting by implementing the warp and wraith of a textile and redefine the idea of utilitarian material in her concrete sculptures. Borrowing from a work by philosopher Gilles Deleuze, the “folds” in the exhibition’s title refer to his theory of an “origami universe.” Saban’s site of inquiry in Folds and Faults is the tension between the urban sprawl and the architecture of a disused and crumbling infrastructure.
Cracked sidewalks are a common sight in the urban landscape of Los Angeles. Saban alludes to the sun baked asphalt of L.A.’s metro areas, folding almost to the breaking point, the concrete slabs presented through out the exhibition’s two floors. Fractures appear at the point where the material bends upon itself positioned on top of handcrafted shipping pallets or draped over the handmade walnut sawhorse. The concrete sculptures being subtly crafted, their utilitarian materials contrasted with the simplicity of their design. Saban, working in collaboration with engineers to create a method of folding the slabs of concrete, reimagines the construction material as more than an essential element of industry, but as a tool for relaying a particular kind of anxiety felt amongst Angelinos. The folds and faults running through these sculptures have a particular L.A. resonance, the ominous feeling in the back of our minds of when the next quake will happen and if it will be “the big one” promised.
Saban’s pushing the boundaries of painting is part and parcel of her practice. In her woven works, dried acrylic brushstrokes intertwined are with the linen canvas creating the warp and weft of a textile. Hand woven on a traditional loom, each painting expands and subverts established notions of painting—a nod to Minimalism in form and a challenge to tradition in function. Woven Collapsible Gate, Expanded (Black) (2017) and Woven Collapsible Gate, Collapsed (Black) (2017) intervene into the gallery in a way that collapses known perceptions of what should be the subject of a painting. The pattern emerges as a gate used to secure storefronts in a metro area of a city. The image is a familiar one for anyone who has traveled the streets at night after hours or early in the morning on their commute.
Saban’s work also forays into ink and paper works. Her “pleated ink” panels are created by layering thin, laser-cut pieces of paper into pools of black ink. As the paper absorbs the ink and dries, it takes on a wrinkled appearance that forms into familiar scenes, venetian blinds, staircases, and potted plants. Juxtaposing the rough crinkled paper-on-ink and the detail in the construction of the interior scenes leave a strange feeling, as though the textile folds of the panels subtly move, an illusion created by the pitch-black ink and lighting of the gallery.
Somewhere between painting and sculpture, the hybrid nature of Saban’s work destabilizes the view of painting from the last few decades. What does it mean to be a painter today? Saban answers this question through the use of unconventional materials and techniques in her contemporary practice.
Analia Saban: Folds and Faults now on view at Sprüth Magers until August 19, 2017. [Sprüth Magers, 5900 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90036, (323) 634-0600]