CULTURE

Contemporary art takes a look at the notion of absence

Gray is a neutral but melancholy color. Not dark enough to be black or light enough to approach the hues of white, it is an in-between color without enough strength or weakness to make any clear statement. It may be taken as the color of subtlety or timidity but also as the color of indifference. It is a color of ambivalence and, perhaps for that reason, a rather unsettling one. In «Here I Disappear,» a contemporary group art exhibition curated by Ghislaine Dantan and held at «the apartment» gallery, one senses a similar, vaguely unsettling feeling. A gray-colored band that runs along the walls sets the background against which the exhibition unfolds. It is an exhibition about the various levels of absence: disappearance, emptiness, self-effacement and isolation. Interiors that are intended for public use but empty of people – a hotel lobby, a waiting room – are featured in the photographs of Lynne Cohen from the 1970s. The absence of humans creates a sad but enigmatic feeling: Is the absence momentary or does it underline a now bygone presence? In her meticulous drawings, Maria Finn traces the outlines of people against a rural landscape. Among other concepts, her work considers the relationship between the artificial and nature. It explores the degree to which we are connected to or alienated by and «absent» from our environment. The blurred, faint shapes and colors in the photographs of Vassilis Balatsos are like fleeting impressions or half-erased traces. They express a presence that is discreet, almost elusive. Nina Papaconstantinou draws nebulous, abstract landscapes in gray tones. Using landscape photographs as her model, the artist copies every trace and transforms them into something entirely different from what they originally looked like. In his video, Bojan Sarcevic alludes to the condition of displacement. Tatiana Trouve’s installation evokes memory and the past. «Here I Disappear» speaks of those «gray zones» in our lives, those nebulous aspects that may seem dull and melancholy but still contain character and strength. At the apartment (21 Voulis, 201.321.5469) to February 10.