Patrizia Biondi, Fedex International Priority Package, Happiness in a Box, 2019, Cardboard and paint, 135cm x 83cm x 22cm.
Art critics abandoned the modernist game of ‘hunting the arts back to their mediums’ years ago. But artists are still wrestling with the inherited idea of a medium having innate terms. I’m always fascinated by that scene; an artist embracing and arguing with received conventions, not as a coy ‘interrogation’ but as something that shapes making and materiality. At Artereal, Patrizia Biondi is showing accretions of discarded cardboard packaging. Like sedimentary layers of the Anthropocene, the works are allegories of a global traffic in consumables. Biondi’s ripped and torn boxes have come apart at their seams, just like art itself. Allegory, postmodernism taught us, is a strategy of parts. And Biondi’s works are decrepit echoes of modernist painting’s components; the grid, deductive structure and ‘push-pull’ space. Still, painting’s core attribute, colour, holds the shards together, a shrink-wrapped skin that binds together waste into a painting-like thing. I want to see the works up close, to figure out how it is that painting always seems to recover its footing, in spite of artists’ best efforts to trash it. And about how artists who aren’t painting—like Biondi, and Teelah George at Neon Parc—still seem so deeply invested in it.