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24 Colors—for Blinky at Dia:Beacon

I made my fist visit to Dia:Beacon on Sunday and I can tell you right now it won’t be my last. I have enough notes and thoughts to write about this trip for the next couple of weeks, but will constrain myself to just the next few days.

I want to talk a little bit about Imi Knoebel’s 24 Colors—for Blinky.

I’ve been interested in seeing this group of artworks since they were first installed in May of 2008.

24 Colors… as it is presented today is a new version from what was presented 30 years or so ago (not that I saw it then – this is the first time the work has been shown in the US). Knoebel’s work plays with the viewer and space in formal ways, surprising the viewer with unexpected juxtapositions as well as unexpected color choices. You can even “hear” Palermo’s voice in the work (although it is secondary – as the work is clearly that of Knoebel’s) These large and expansive artworks hold the viewer and with time the shapes extend themselves outward leading my mind to consider further possibilities that this work could continue to develop. I found the works full of this quality. This was impressive to me because they are all monochromatic (reductive) artworks.

There is a secondary subtext for this work – the loss of friendship between the two. Knoebel’s forms that make 24 Colors… are similar to a jigsaw puzzle that will never fit together and none of the artworks has a right angle – the works distill and speak of a messier thing than the formalities of either of the two’s work. The work speaks obliquely about friendship and loss.

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