Peggy Franck: The Conversation You and I Never Had
Galleria Klerkx, Milan
13 November – 16 January
Review from ArtReview, Issue 29, 2009
For her first one-person exhibition in Italy, the young Dutch artist Peggy Franck continues to build on a practice based on the act of extending a flat, two-dimensional photograph into space. She does this through a process that begins with the making of ensembles in her studio, utilizing quotidian objects and simple materials like Plexiglas, tape, and paper that she subsequently photographs and exhibits as photo images displayed on the gallery wall. The artist also manipulates these photographs by rolling them into tube-like forms that are subsequently placed on the floor as three-dimensional objects and sculptures. This process stems from her former achievements at the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten in 2005-2006, and recent one-person and group shows throughout Europe and the UK. Franck’s show in Milan, consequently, builds on her latest projects by continuing to utilize a variety of media to artistically investigate the dialectical tension between the center and the periphery, along with the fragment and the whole.
As a viewer begins to take in the entirety of the artist’s intervention, one notices that the gallery consists of areas with a strong sense of horror vacui, and those areas that are more thematically minimal. A case in point is the large installation near the gallery’s entrance, which from a short distance most closely resembles a bunch of stuff thrown together. This perception, however, changes as one becomes aware of the photograph the installation is based on; a fact that invites reflection on the idea that Franck has attempted to reproduce in a new setting a moment that has already passed. The forms, objects, and shapes present in the photograph can then be seen in other smaller installations, which also include two photo-objects, sculptures, and several photographs in the show. A triangle made out of copper, for example, can be seen in the photo the large installation was based on, but is also physically present just a few feet away in a minimalist curvilinear floor sculpture.
This process of echoing takes on an intriguing note as at least three photos in the last room – which refigure a repeated blue bow tie as floor pattern – can also be found on a large sheet of paper on the floor in the large installation. The re-presentation of the motif and photo images recall painting, and may be described as having the atmospheric qualities of Richard Diebenkorn abstracts with the compositional precision of Matthias Weischer interiors. The photos range in size and are displayed off center and at the edges of the wall; bringing attention to the fact that what was once so central (the floor bow tie piece in the large installation) is now simple floor pattern in a photograph.
The Conversation You and I Never Had hence reads as a sort of problem that can never be solved. An exhibition that highlights the process of navigating the everyday; a reality in the artist’s world that is shiny and colourful, as well as poor and casual, which ultimately adds to the mystery Franck is able to create through a playfully dramatic, yet contradictory narrative.