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Bracha L. Ettinger

Opening: Thursday, March 24, 6–8pm

March 24 – April 24, 2016

A wide-angle photograph of the gallery, with 5 paintings installed on the left and back wall in a single row.
A wide photograph of the gallery with one painting on the left wall, 2 paintings on the back wall, and a long table on the right wall.
A photograph of 3 paintings by Bracha L. Ettinger on a single wall. Each painting is framed in white.
A photograph of three Bracha Ettinger paintings installed around a corner: 1 work is on the left wall, 2 works are on the right wall. They are framed in white.
A photograph of 1 painting by Ettinger installed on the left wall. At right we see the beginning of a long wood table.
A photograph of one half of the gallery, which includes a long wooden table installed at the wall at left. On the back wall is a single painting.
Installation view, Bracha L. Ettinger, ​Callicoon Fine Arts, New York, NY, 2016
An installation view of the long wooden table in the exhibition, holding books and drawings. We also can find a single painting in the background hung on a wall at right in the photograph.
A photograph of within the vitrine: there are 6 abstract drawings on paper at right, each with purple and pink colors. At left there is a sketchbook opened with a pink shape on the right page and some illegible text on the left page.
A view inside the vitrine in the exhibition. 6 drawings on paper that are predominantly pink/purple/black are centrally located. At the left and right are cropped sketchbooks with doodles within them.
A view inside the vitrine in the exhibition. 6 drawings on paper that are predominantly pink/purple/black are centrally located in the middle-ground. The vitrine skews from bottom-right to top-left of the photo. The 2nd sketchbook in the vitrine in the foreground has a multicolored 2-page spread with illegible text.
A photograph inside the vitrine in the exhibition. There is a central sketchbook that includes red splatter and text throughout the two pages that it is open to. There is a cropped sketchbook at bottom-left, and a black-and-white sketchbook on the top-right.
A photograph of an open sketchbook with a shape drawn in black. We can read "crazy woman" above the shape.
A photograph inside the vitrine in the exhibition. There are 2 sketchbooks and one drawing at right. Both sketchbooks are open to a spread. The drawing is unframed.
A photograph inside the vitrine in the exhibit. There are 2 sketchbooks: the contents of their open pages is illegible but we can distinguish purple and red tones throughout. The book at right has writing in blue.
A drawing within the vitrine that is purpler with an eye, squinting, centrally located. There are tones of black and pink in washes.
A photograph inside the vitrine in the exhibit. There is one central drawing that is predominantly pink and purple. At left there is an excerpted drawing that has similar pink and purple tones. At the top-right is a sketchbook, out of focus, with black and white tones.
A photograph of the interior of the vitrine. There are two drawings on paper centrally located: at left is a dense blue and purple composition, at right a dark figure is depicted with a wash of purple watercolor in the shape of a helix. On the left and right of these two drawings are excerpted sketchbooks with writing that is illegible.
A photograph of the interior of the vitrine. There is a single sketchbook, open, with writing upon both pages that is illegible. At left and right are cropped sketchbooks as well.
A photograph of the interior of the vitrine. At left is a sketchbook open to a black drawing of a skull with text around it. At right is an open sketchbook with writing and several doodles in black and purple. At right near the edge of the frame, we find a lilac-colored drawing.
A photograph of the inside of the vitrine. There is an open sketchbook that depicts a black circle, a blue/black circle, and the skull figure. There's writing as well that is illegible.
A photograph inside the vitrine in the exhibit. Centrally in the image are 6 drawings on paper that are all purple: those on the left are pale, while 2 of the works are darker purple. There are cropped sketchbooks on either side of the drawings. The drawings are installed in two rows of 3.
A photograph of the vitrines, from bottom-right corner to top-left corner.
A photograph of inside the vitrine with 2 central drawings: on the left is a square piece in washes of pink and purple; on the right is a square drawing in purple and white that summons a rock in the ocean (squiggles of white moving horizontally, one central mass in pink).
A painting on canvas that is mostly made up of purple and white tones. The content is ghostly, with spherical shapes and echoes of these circles in the background.
A painting on canvas that is predominantly red, with a burst of light seemingly coming from the center of the canvas. There are some striations horizontally.
A vertical painting that is predominantly red and purple. There are striations horizontally, and some splotches in red that run vertically.
A painting that is predominantly red, beige, and brown. There are delicate striations moving horizontally, but the shapes of the square canvas appear to exist vertically. They resemble silhouettes of figures at a distance.
A horizontal painting that is predominantly rendered in red, purple, and white. The contents appear to be ghoulish, shadowy figures standing in a horizontal line. These figures appear in white.
A painting made up of predominantly purple, yellow, beige, white, and black. There are delicate striations throughout. The work's subject matter is ethereal—no recognizable shapes or subjects.

Press Release

Callicoon Fine Arts is very pleased to present a solo exhibition of paintings, works on paper, and notebooks by Bracha L. Ettinger from March 24th to April 24th. The exhibition follows her participation in the 14th Istanbul Biennial this past autumn and marks a return to New York since her presentation of "The Eurydice Series" at the Drawing Center in 2001. Please join us for an opening reception on Thursday, March 24th from 6 to 8pm with the artist present.

In Bracha’s paintings resonant striations of color, most often blues, violets and reds, are formed from an accumulation of thin lines of oil paint made over several years on each single canvas. Light filled vertical forms are figures simultaneously created by and fused with these horizontal striations. They undulate across the works, screens of intimate size, joining transparent layers of luminosity to shadow, revealing each painting as a space of connectedness and transformation, charged with historical trauma. 

This reaching between light and dark is thematically articulated in the titles of the works by reference to Eurydice and Medusa, among other figures from mythology and literature. Take for example paintings in the exhibition such as Eurydice nu descendrait (no 1) and Eurydice, The Graces, Medusa: mythological yet still enigmatic figures associated with the feminine, they act to bridge unconscious and historical memory, seeking paradoxical associations between catastrophe and transcendence. 

The earliest works from "The Eurydice Series," seen in New York at the Drawing Center, contained fragments of photographs from genocidal Europe of 1942 showing women, mothers and children about to be executed. The photographs have been passed through an interrupted photocopier, making their traces spectral and ghostly. These altered images were then mounted to canvases to become one of the sources of the oil paintings. 

In some of the more recent work, like Eurydice, the Graces, Medusa and No Title Yet (no 2) presented here, leftovers of such fragmented images are printed directly onto the canvas, appearing and disappearing along with an intensification of the abstract working-through with oil. Like Eurydice descending into the underworld, the image-figures confront their own disappearance, sliding on the color-lines as they dissolve into light and shadow, re-emerging, if only partially, as lively substance. 

Within this meeting of figurative traces and an abstract research concerning mental visions, the ethical and healing potential of Bracha’s artworks begins to reveal itself. While the works are not abstractions of the devastating historical images, they shuttle abstract “thought-forms” (as revealed by 19th century theosophists) through to the images. For Bracha, abstraction that begins from the mind, enacts from the painting itself a healing transformation that confronts the most difficult atrocities in reality, like that of the Holocaust. Between these incommensurable levels there is an aporia that finds expression in the various dimensions—of history, of the psyche—that coexist within each artwork.

Petals, rhizomes, bark, ligaments, and veins are some of the visual motifs that appear in the works on paper, also shown here. The series, "And my heart wound-space with-in me" and "Chrysalis," show compressed spaces of emergence surrounded by glowing auras in twining folds of transparent color, while the double sided Lichtenberg Flower and Medusa works further elaborate the visual vocabulary.  

The notebooks, large in number, are a kind of archive incorporating handwriting in French, Hebrew, and English that is enmeshed with drawing and doodles, quick jottings bumping against longer elucidations and quotidian necessities. Question marks, strings, arrows, tumbling figures, scattered sensations and thoughts, and notes that express the evolution of her philosophical and psychoanalytical thought, constantly reset the core of Bracha’s idiosyncratic practice.

Bracha L. Ettinger (b. 1948 in Tel Aviv) is a painter who works between Paris and Tel Aviv. She participated in the recent 14th Istanbul Biennial in 2015, where a large room was devoted to her work in various media. Additional significant solo exhibitions include the Musée des Beaux-Arts d’Angers; Casco, Utrecht; Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona; Freud Museum, London; BOZAR – Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Musée des Beaux-Arts, Calais; MoMA, Oxford; Le Nouveau Musée, Villeurbanne; Museum of Art, Pori; and The Drawing Center, New York. Group exhibitions include elles@centrepompidou, Centre Pompidou, Paris; ARS06 Biennial, KIASMA Museum, Helsinki; Face à l'Histoire, Centre Pompidou, Paris; Inside the Visible, ICA, Boston, National Museum for Women in the Arts, Washington, Whitechapel, London, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; Villa Medici, Rome; and Kabinet, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. Several monographs are devoted to her work and thought, and her paintings are in the collections of Castello di Rivoli, Torino; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Haifa Museum of Art, Israel; Musée des Beaux-Arts d’Angers, France; Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Israel, and more.

Also a psychoanalyst, Bracha L. Ettinger is one of the world’s leading theorists in the realm of sexual difference and French feminism, whose writings have influenced film and literary thinking, queer studies, aesthetics, ethics, psychoanalysis and art history. Among other academic positions, she is the Marcel Duchamp Chair and Professor in Media and Communication, European Graduate School, Saas-Fee; and an activist with Physicians for Human Rights. Bracha is the author of many articles and books including Matrix. Halal(a) – Lapsus. Notes on Painting 1985-1992 (MOMA Oxford 1993) and The Matrixial Borderspace (Univ. of Minnesota Press 2006). 

For additional information contact Photi Giovanis at, or call 212-219-0326.

Callicoon Fine Arts is located at 49 Delancey Street between Forsyth and Eldridge Streets. Gallery hours are Wednesday to Sunday, 10am to 6pm. The nearest subway stops are the B and D trains at Grand Street and the F, J, M and Z trains at Delancey-Essex Street.

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