Today @ AK

Tauba Auerbach

American, born 1981

© Tauba Auerbach. Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

Untitled (Fold), 2012

Acrylic paint on canvas on wooden stretcher
64 x 48 inches (162.6 x 121.9 cm)
Pending Acquisition Funds, 2012

After obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Visual Arts from Stanford University in 2003, Tauba Auerbach revisited her adolescent fascination with handwriting by working as a sign painter in San Francisco. This background in utilitarian visual communication continues to inspire her preoccupation with the various channels through which we depict, share, and process graphic information. Her subsequent experimentations with typography and graphic design strongly influenced both her early text-based paintings and her more recent explorations within such diverse fields as photography, bookmaking, and music.

Created via an exacting, multistep process that often ends in discarded efforts, Auerbach’s fold paintings subtly reflect these interests by deconstructing traditional perceptions of pictorial space. First, the artist folds a raw canvas, forming distinct creases. She then unfolds the canvas and utilizes an industrial spray gun to paint the crumpled surface in a way that mimics the emission of light waves. After the paint dries, Auerbach stretches the canvas to reveal a trompe l’oeil record of its folds and creases. The artist has called this artificial merging of the canvas’s discrete states of linearity and depth “fourth dimensionality.” The remnants of folds, lightly delineated in dreamy, saturated shades, encourage the viewer to access the work from multiple vantages in an attempt to reconcile the conflicting sensory data. This transformation of the traditionally flat picture plane into a seemingly three-dimensional object emphasizes the material properties of the fabric support. Moreover, in contrast with their abstract forms, the paintings read as documents of a past that is tangibly real. However, like photographs, they cannot escape their inherent two-dimensionality and therefore linger on as mirages of three-dimensionality.


Tauba Auerbach (American, born 1981) gained immediate recognition after entering the prestigious Deitch Projects stable in 2005. Propelled further by her inclusion in the New Museum’s notorious 2009 exhibition Younger than Jesus, she continues to exhibit in numerous group shows, such as the 2010 Whitney Biennial and the 2012 exhibition Lifelike organized by the Walker Art Center. Auerbach recently received her first solo museum exhibition at the Bergen Kunsthall, Norway, and her work may be found in the permanent collections of various establishments, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and Moderna Museet in Stockholm. She was recently awarded an Artist Research Fellowship from the Smithsonian Institution.