Need for Speed

By

Published May 13, 2009

Installation view. Courtesy Friedrich Petzel Gallery.

 

Crashed cars wrapped and warped around a phallic cement pole; monumental reliefs of supermodels and sexy cartoon women, striated so as to create a hologram effect: In its combination of subject matter and material force, the five works in Dirk Skreber’s show at Friedrich Petzel might just be the most macho pieces on the planet. To fabricate his peek-a-boo renderings of Kate Moss, which the artist calls “pluck paintings” and which are foam, the artist has to sit, presumably in the dark, while the image of his model is projected larger than life. He then picks at it, very delicately, and likely for a long, long time. They’re feats of engineering and stunning, glistening objects—even if the photo above mutes Moss’s jaundiced palate and makes the vehicle to look ever so slightly saggy. These are monuments to the banality of cartoon sexuality and commercial fetishism; they’re also evidence of some kind of mania. To what end goes so much enthusiasm for ambivalence? T.S. Eliot: “Humankind cannot bear very much reality.

Friedrich Petzel Gallery is located at 537 West 22 Street, New York. Dirk Skreber is on view through June 27.