Text for group exhibition No Drink No Talk Just Beautiful organized by Mary Simpson at On Stellar Rays, New York, NY

No Drink No Talk Just Beautiful

Allegory is not a future problem. It relies on the past to retell the present. Allegory desires and consumes: the fragment, the imperfect, the incomplete. It promises to resolve the contradictions that confront culture, it is perpetually deferred. Allegory insists on abstraction and gesture within narrative space, producing something more like a pictogram than a story or a history. It is a supplement, it is excessive, it disseminates, it is a parody.

Painters insist that allegory is real. The allegorist arrives at symbol through intuition. She tends toward the mythological and psychological resonance of a landscape, a ruin, a surface. She collects without a goal, piles up the ruinous colors, poses and possible steps. This has been likened to obsessive neurosis. The directorial mode of painting does not bend to historical reference. You want to know exactly what it refers to, but you don’t. The allegorist is self-scattering, she adds another meaning to the image, poses as its interpreter. She stages disruption, she mocks her own obsessions. She aims for the metaphysical heart of parody. Parody is a serious matter.

We can think of an artist as producing a model for seeing an image, a model for the observer — not an image of the body but a body for the image.

***No Drink No Talk Just Beautiful was first a drawing on an invitation for a show by Gunar Wardenbach at the Instititut für Theater-, Film-, und Fernsehwissenschaft, Köln in 1990. Wardenbach’s friend Michaela Eichwald collaged a fragment from the invite into a painting of the same title in 1998, which was shown at Zuordnungsprobleme, Johann König Berlin, in 2008. In 2011 Eichwald made collages and here the fragment showed up again in the painting Memory-Klinik-Notluke-Persönlichkeitsschale.


Michaela Eichwald