When I got on the phone with Caroline Bachmann to discuss 58 av. J.-C., the exhibition she opened at Kunsthaus Glarus, in March 2020, the first thing she told me was that she had just returned from a hike on the Napf, a mountain between Bern and Lucerne that, according to her, looks exactly like a skirt. After having successfully hiked through each pleat, she reached the top and could contemplate the entire Swiss alpine panorama. Describing herself as a very rational artist, it took me some time to realize that this anecdote is actually an excellent entry point to understand her approach to painting—namely, as a tireless quest to disentangle the medium while testing the semiotic potential of representation.
Are we really living in an Age of Darkness, as Lewis Hammond’s apocalyptically charged paintings suggest? The wider world remains locked out in his works; the cosmos depicted is reduced to narrow, safe retreats where bodies surrender to one another and indulge in tender, sometimes ambivalently violent intimacy.
With his lush, figurative scenes of gaggles of gay men hanging out in watering holes, outside brownstones, and on street corners with a drink in every hand, Salman Toor seems to channel romantic notions of urban living—of being alone in a crowd, one of many.
Amitai Romm sets out to investigate, but in the end is happier getting lost. He plays on the idea of the golem—significant but unthinking—to ask fundamental questions about art, technology, and agency. What results is a collision of fancy and utility, speculation and science that is by no means ironic, but always playful.
By contrast, Mira Schor mines political rhetoric or art world refrains where the connection between words and their meaning is already loose.