Toby Ziegler

Failed Design for a ouija board (2), 2017

  • Medium:Oil Paint on Aluminium
  • Dimensions:171 x 280 cm

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About the Artwork

Failed Design for a ouija board (2), 2017

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A prominent feature of Ziegler’s works is that they are intentionally idiosyncratic. They aim at perfection – however artistic perfection should be intended – but they constantly miss the target. And they are not afraid of showing it, letting erasures and pentimenti emerge from the composition.

‘Failed design for a ouija board (2)’ makes no exception. Matisse’s works glimpse at the viewer from the background, but they are unexpectedly crossed by a pink lattice, as if to indicate that the pictorial attempt is – as the title suggests – failed.

Ziegler’s iconic style traces back to the origins of his career, when, struggling to find a distinctive artistic lexicon, always craving for a perfection that could never be achieved, he decided to let his works’ imperfections emerge to the surface. Thus his artistic vocabulary was born, and, together with it, that sense of strangeness which accompanies the illusory familiarity of his paintings.

What does the ouija board exactly stand for? Is it an attempt to recall the spirits of Matisse or of his dancers? Or is ouija board just an empty word, a trick, originated ex post in the mind of the artist by virtue of the resemblance between the oblique pink lines and the convulsive moves through which the board supposedly speaks?

There is no objective answer to such questions. The only solution is to switch rationality off, and participate in the mysterious dance the painting invites us to.