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Collectors Buy the Aura: Syd Krochmalny’s works at The Opening Gallery

Syd Krochmalny, I Speak the Languages of the Stones, 2017. ©Photo courtesy of the artist.


By AGUSTINA BATTEZZATI December 13, 2023

Who said we needed the informational world we are submerged in, it is not clear, even less that art needs it. This not only concerns to a discursive invasion, but it also comes with an expansive and imperious, if not imperial, adventure of producing works with complex structures, long interconnections, sometimes hi-tech, with the requirement of a long explanation. To be clear, I am not against words, I simply think that it is imperative, more than ever, to think how to articulate them.

Undoubtedly, Syd Krochmalny's works on display at Collectors Buy the Aura at The Opening Gallery play with words. I Meditate and I Speak the Language of the Stones, both from 2017, are two of the exhibited paintings that record in words slightly longer versions of their titles. I Speak the Language of the Stones when I walk in the Village of your Synapses is set against a mountainous background as if seen from above the sky. The landscape, sort of idyllic, may be a specific existing place, yet also any location, or even none at all. There is something about this openness of meaning that is formulated by the choice of the form of the word. We could call these phrases, verses, or, following the line of a certain influence of the oriental thought that runs through other exhibited works, inscriptions, seals that function with what we see. I Meditate on Many Things out of My Control is written also on a landscape, in this case a galactic kind. Here again, and perhaps even more, an untraceable topography contrasts with the density of the inscription. A usage of words, perhaps fair, that escapes from the current excessive verbiage and resonates as a visual form of thought and attention. Maybe, like the image you take with you after reading a book.

Syd Krochmalny, I Meditate, 2017. ©Photo courtesy of the artist. 

Not all words are written on landscapes. Shanzhai, 2016, features a section of the thousands terracotta soldiers that were created for the first emperor of China as funerary art more than 2000 years ago, and discovered only in 1974. This painting, which carries the inscription of its title, Shanzhai, recovers oriental notions about originality, authenticity, and thus, about time and renewal. With no need for discontinuity and for the unforeseen emergence of the new, the creative act in this line of thought is, in contrast, playful as subversive, it plays with variation and recombination. Fake, a praise. A not necessarily overcoming movement of time and action that resonates in the choice of the acrylic, oil and canvas paintings techniques, both simple and historical, reproduced by the works exhibited. Beyond the Value, 2017, follows this continuous although activating time, now drove by weight and agency of tangible things. This persistent and transformative movement drawn in this series even allows us to rethink the in process, already conventional in contemporary art, from a totally different perspective: not as a form of production that claims to disvalue the finished, but as a work that never ceases to be.

Syd Krochmalny, Shanzhai, 2016. ©Photo courtesy of the artist. 

In a sort of order, I believe not premeditated, Shanzhai traces a line towards the works on display that illustrate human figures in elusive times. From the soldiers of over 2000 years ago, to the extra-temporal not-quite-alien painting, Alienism, 2018, and the curiously not datable Homage and Oblivion #2, 2016. This last work, a 3D print in plastic and resin, lies latent and absorbed. Perhaps, like a thinker who differs continuously in time. WM

Agustina Battezzati

Agustina Battezzati is an Argentine researcher and writer based in New York. She is currently a Phd Candidate at Columbia University working on contemporary art from Latin America.

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