6 out of 5
Honed through a half century of practice, this exhibition shows a range of investigations and experiments by the Hungarian artist. Measured, tonal process informs many of these works and the final results often directly hark back to their creation. With the IXEK paintings it is not just the geometric shapes that are contorted, bent and layered but the actual paint as well. Using numerous transparent layers to build up the colour blocking of certain areas, a mid-tone shade is brought into play when they overlap other colours previously painted.
Like technical drawings, there are invisible horizon lines and vanishing points from each of these images around the gallery. With two there are even charcoal lines drawn on the gallery walls to continue and extend the forms and rhythms of the work.
Hung slightly protruding from the walls the three dimensional element of the work is confirmed further by each pieces' shadow; it is an important extension of the theoretical dimensions portrayed in the images themselves.
Departing yet further from the single plane is a giant four metre long mobile at the rear of the downstairs space. It is largely static but varies from the wall pieces by overlapping in reality, each of the five panels supported just behind the one above, having a combined mix of paints over the layered area. A Venn diagram of sorts, a zone of both above and below, in front and behind. And by Maurer choosing to use such bright and bold shades, the interlocking hues hark back to another simplistic and recognisable device, that of the artist's colour wheel.
Elsewhere in the show there are examples of older work - photography and video, both adhering to the sense of repeated action and procedure. There are also works that have been imbibed with a more political stance. Pencil works done in such a manner as to highlight folds and creases in the paper have often been thought to allude to the restrictions put upon those of her generation at the time when Hungary was under Communist rule. The revolutionary idea that an artist could create these potentially radical modes of self-expression behind the Iron Curtain sits uncomfortably with the reality of her scholarship to Vienna in 1967 and subsequent regular access to the West.
Her work has seen a new level of interest in the last decade or so, particularly by large institutions but it has largely focused on the pieces made in the previous century. This exhibition acts as a timely warning not to overlook the visually striking creations she is working on now.
http://whitecube.com/exhibitions/dora_maurer_masons_yard_2016/ until July 9th