About the Now. Cao Fei, Adrian Ghenie, Omer Fast, and Lynette Yiadom- Boakye, Parkett 99 presents four artists who, with their experience of very different backgrounds, take history (and histories), dreams, the inscrutable, and at times even the disasters in contemporary reality and hold them up to our gaze.
Their representations and images capture fleeting, ambivalent, and always unstable realities in kaleidoscopic images, fictitious creations, and shimmering visions, without ever diminishing their truth content. Even if Cao Fei’s art paints a gloomy picture of today’s Chinese megacities, it is regularly illuminated by allegorical flashes of fragile life asserting itself among the rubble.
Theaters of war, traumas, and shocking stories from the newsroom seem concentrated through a particular burning glass in Omer Fast’s films, whose credo Kaelen Wilson-Goldie describes as “the disaster and the desire to surpass it, all at once” (p. 121). For author Suzanne Hudson (p. 163), Adrian Ghenie“proposes that one order may cancel another.” Mihnea Mircan considers how Ghenie’s images of decay, as poisonous “bestiaries” from 20th-century history, also contaminate our present (p. 144). It is in the dark color spaces of Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, that a glimmer of hope can be made out. Here Hilton Als finds the fraternity and closeness that in his view are otherwise lacking in contemporary art, as he shares in his engagingly personal essay (p. 86).
All of this is fittingly accompanied by the ghosts that appear as recollections of current events in Rokni Haerizadeh’s Insert a- haunting book-withina- book. Bice Curiger and Nikki Columbus