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Four Paintings

Untitled (1999), Black Diamond (2000), Gravity in Four Directions (2001), Monsters of Paradise Times Two (2002)

The intensity of authentic experiences is hard to come by these days when the fervour of religious ecstasy or the certainty of political convictions has largely evaporated and we have to resort to an ever-changing cocktail of sex, drugs and music to achieve desired shifts of reality and emotional exaltation. Tomaselli’s work expresses a longing for the apparent innocence and optimism of the 1960s and early 1970s with its infectious, if short-lived, sense of unlimited euphoria and genuine belief in imminent Utopia. The spirit of this period seems to be best captured through the filter of nostalgia, evoked by an aesthetic vernacular which until recently was only tolerated in fashion and design. The actual pills, drugs and cannabis leaves, which are arranged in intricate ornamental patterns and embedded in layers of resin, playfully allude to the historical enthusiasm for psychedelic drugs and the loss of the promise of salvation of this period.

Chemical salvation is almost palpable in Tomaselli’s paintings, displayed as seductively as precious jewels laid out on black velvet in a dramatically-lit shop window. However, our desire to grasp hold of the dreams of eternal happiness is forever frustrated, the gleaming surface of the resin functioning as an invisible barrier that both attracts and distances. Tomaselli allows us to indulge guiltlessly in forbidden aesthetic pleasures – at a safe distance from the psycho-pharmaceutical seductions.

Christoph Grunenberg

Project Credits

From Collection Glenn Fuhrman, New York

With thanks to: Glenn Fuhrman, New York; James Cohan Gallery, New York, Laura Steinberg & B. Nadal-Ginard, Massachusetts and The Dakis Joannou Collection Foundation, Athens.

Date

14 September – 24 November 2002