'The entire point of making art, to me, is newness and to expand your mind, even in some tiny way'
(T. Auerbach, quoted in 'Optic Nerve', American Vogue, January 2009).
Exploring the traditional distinctions between content, dimension and image, Tauba Auerbach's cerebral compositions challenge our conventional perceptual expectations. Elegant and intriguing, Untitled (Fold) emanates a distinctive luminosity, capturing the gentle rays of warm light across what appears at first to be a pure white folds of cloth, lined with creases. Upon closer inspection, however, Untitled (Fold) reveals itself to be a masterful, modern example of trompe l'oeil. One of Auerbach's celebrated Folds series, the work is illusory; this is a perfectly flat surface canvas. From afar, it is voluminous, crumpled and recognizable, Auerbach's skillful brush strokes rendering the shadows of an undulating surface of folded fabric, tactile and sumptious. Draw in close, and the voluminous folds magically vanish, revealing the perfectly smooth surface of Auerbach painted canvas. Painted in 2010, Untitled (Fold) dates from the same year Auerbach exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art PS1, New York, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, the New Museum, New York, Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art, Turin, and The Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
Conveying two sets of seemingly paradoxical information, Untitled (Fold) exists on the knife edge between two discrete states, volume and flatness, oscillating between the second and third dimension, a condition that the Auerbach refers to as the 2.5th dimension. In confronting this rarely explored, ambiguous territory, the artist intersects mathematical, logical and art historical concerns. Part of the ingenuity of Untitled (Fold) derives from the fact that the canvas has been heavily manipulated - Auerbach folds, irons and rolls her canvases to achieve the desired look, before laying it flat and spraying it with layers of industrial paint to give the canvas both its smoothness and its trompe l'oeil effect. The broad and subtle spectrum of colour that flows across this work has been achieved in a similarly gradual and intellectualised process, using the digital language of RGB. Combining modern technology with a pointillist technique, tiny spots of red, green and blue acrylic paint blend in the eye and mind of the viewer into an immensely full range of hues and tones.
Depicting a haptic sensibility through an optic medium, Untitled (Fold) can be seen on a trajectory with the ancient pictorial tradition of representing drapery and folded cloth. Furthermore, by emphatically avoiding narrative and making the surface itself the subject of the work, Auerbach is drawing attention to the illusory nature of painting itself. Operating in a gap between conceptual, graphic and abstract art and combining it with a technological savvy, Auerbach has interwoven apparently irreconcilable phenomena into a cohesive surface, creating a beautiful and beguiling response to her ongoing fascination with 'collapsing order and chaos into a unified state.' (T. Auerbach, quoted in D. Kazanjian. 'Optic Nerve', American Vogue, January 2009, p. 141).