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Figure Study – Drypoint Prints by Louise Bourgeois and Pooneh Maghazehe

This presentation marks the inaugural project of CPM Editions—the publication of a suite of four drypoint prints by Pooneh Maghazehe, exhibited in conversation with four drypoint prints by Louise Bourgeois from 1993-2000.
The pairing of these two artists is presented as a dialogue between two approaches to figuration, taking place on a common material ground—a case study about how the depiction of the body and the concept of figuration has been expressed in different eras, cultures, and aesthetic traditions. This show is also about how the notion of the multiple informs the way we see and process the figure. Equally, this is a study of the historical figure of the artist and how discourse about and between artists evolves.

The four Louise Bourgeois (b. 1911- d. 2010) prints chosen for this show depict the body in various states of pain. The titles: Dismemberment, Arched Figure, Head on Fire, and Hanging Figure all describe violence or mutilation imposed upon the body. The figures are laid bare, presented succinctly on a stark, vacant background. The overt imaging of external physical trauma in these works functions as a gateway into an internal, non-physical condition, into memory and the subconscious—a territory often explored by Bourgeois throughout her career.

In Maghazehe’s prints the figure also sits at the boundary between physical and psychological space, but the bodies exist more as an absence than a presence; a starting point from which a complex process of encryption and erasure unfolds. The initial steps in the making of these works involved applying a vinyl stencil of the artist’s enlarged figure drawings to the surface of the copper plates, sanding the entirety of the negative space, and dissolving the vinyl stencil, leaving its ghost image unmarked. The imagery comes out of a memory that has fueled much of Maghazehe’s sculptural works in recent years—a visit to Miami beach in the summer of 2014, in which she observed two identical twin girls carefully measuring and sharing sips of a diet coke, passing the bottle back and forth, then throwing it out, still mostly full. Elements of this story float within the pictorial landscape and are abstracted by ornamental marks and patterns that allude to a range of ideas, from Islamic Architecture and textiles, to Euclidean Geometry.


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