“Wet Paintings in the Womb”
28 Mar – 19 May, 2007

Vase of Flowers, 2006
wet oil paint vacuum sealed in Polynylon
71,12 x 55,88 cm

Monika Sprüth and Philomene Magers are pleased to present the first solo exhibition of the Los Angeles-based artist Analia Saban in Europe.

Being a student of conceptual artist John Baldessari, her method of working is, as she puts it herself, both artistic and scientific. She scrutinises the process of creating a picture, indeed she is looking for that very element which makes it a picture. In order to achieve this she breaks through the visual composition and explores the picture’s physical properties.
In her earlier works, for example, she reduced works by Kandinsky, Mirò, Matisse or De Kooning to individual strokes or dots, which she cut out, copied and re-arranged. Taking another work, she separated over a hundred canvases – landscapes, still lives and portraits – into individual threads, which she then wound together to form an enormous ball of art, “The Painting Ball”. Although the picture itself initially seems to disappear, this allows the more fundamental aspect, the prerequisite for a picture’s emergence, to come to the fore.

Analia Saban’s exhibition at Sprüth Magers Projekte, entitled “Wet Paintings in the Womb”, presents new works from 2006 and 2007.
She first paints canvases of various formats in oil before shrink-wrapping them. The paint is generously applied, sometimes boldly with broad brush strokes, predominantly however with separate thick streaks and blotches applied directly from the tube onto a white background.
Some of the works have representational motifs, executed in a simple, child-like manner. An eyeball guides the visitors into the exhibition; a clock makes reference to the office situated in the foyer.
The thickly applied paint forms a relief-like surface under the shrink-wrap, for instance in “Egg, 2006”; thick, shining hills rise up from under the plastic film. The paint, which is still wet, can be seen under this. The contours of the motifs become soft and tangible.
Other works concentrate more on the structural aspect, in the tradition of Mondrian or Malevich. They experiment with the relationship between canvas and paint. The 2006 works “Green Line” or “Black Line” exemplify this; the paint runs seemingly incidentally over the canvas before moving over its edges and spreading out. Analia Saban succeeds in capturing this process of the movement of paint; the organic character of the liquid paint, however, is retained under the plastic packaging. The paint can still move when pressure is applied, which in turn changes the picture.
As the artist herself explains, this exhibition incorporates a number of aspects. There is the visualisation of a process – both the process of creating a picture and the process of further developing representational motifs towards the abstract. With reference to the exhibition’s title, she is concerned with the relationship between the organic and the structural. The resulting picture – the wet paint changing its form – is as safe in its cold, hard shrink-wrap packaging as if it were in a womb, where life itself begins to evolve.

Analia Saban was born 1980 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She made her Bachelor of Fine Arts at Loyola University New Orleans, followed by the Master of Fine Arts at University of California, Los Angeles,CA.

  • Sprueth Magers Projekte
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