Phantom Paintings gathers several series of paintings on aluminum panel produced by Urs Fischer over the last three years. From far away many of these paintings appear to be large-scale gestural abstractions, but on closer inspection the viewer detects total flatness – the abstract paint marks were actually silkscreened on top of photographs of the artist’s personal spaces, creating an image of abstraction rather than the abstraction itself. In other multilayered works, representational systems clash as the abstractions obstruct images taken from vintage Hollywood publicity headshots as well as close-up photographs of the artist’s own face. The book ends with a series of bold paintings on cutout panels that push the limits of line, color, and shape, transforming facial features into intersecting organic shapes that slide and mutate in a new form of landscape painting.
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