Monochrome(s), nothing but whiteness


Every once in a while an artist whose work you thought you knew manages to surprise you. With her new video series Monochrome(s) the Austrian artist known as Lia did just that. I know Lia through the mid nineties net art website, which Lia’s then partner Dextro and her made together. Both Lia and Dextro are pseudonyms. Working under a pseudonym was a not uncommon practice for net artists at the time, when people were largely known by their ‘handles’ or nicknames online., also part of Jodi’s net art map that shows much of the 1996 net art scene, stood out for its very specific aesthetic that was unlike anything else in the field at the time. Where most artists made either edgy, rough visual or performatively complicated works, Dextro and Lia created often frail looking, highly polished minimal imagery. You can still find the archive online. A few years ago, Dextro and Lia, who had already split up years before, ended up in a battle not unlike that between Ulay and Abramovic. Each has their own website and practice, but the work of one has always very much resembled that of the other. At least, I thought so, until now. With Monochrome(s) Lia seems to be moving in a completely new direction. The works are a series of videos in which white shapes move on white backgrounds. This means the videos show nothing but whiteness. They show what seems like a void. These could be the emperor’s clothes, but looking at Lia’s work of the last few years more closely one can see an encroaching nullification of form. In what seems like an amplification and repetition of the frail shapes the artist is known for, one can also see how there is a drive towards emptiness and space that moves beyond individual pieces. Her 3D printed “Filament Sculptures” for example, is a series of black objects created from a few too many different slight variations, creating a cinema or animation effect, but with an odd active stillness to it. Something similar happens in the Monochrome(s) series. Every individual Monochrome, strangely enough, has its own aesthetic and creates its own experience, even if they all look exactly the same except for their different lengths. Let’s watch closely for what happens next. Josephine Bosma


Monochrome No. 7: Constantly Transforming White Triangle on White Background