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Tauba Auerbach: Compression System (Marble)


Compression System (Marble)
Cover Image:

Photo: Benoit Pailley


Photo: Benoit Pailley

In order to create Compression System (Marble), Tauba Auerbach scanned a slab of marble and printed the scan on two sides of high-quality Japanese paper. The print is then folded in such a way that the shape and size of the paper becomes compressed and distorted, but the overall piece remains flat. In the artist’s words, “One might think of it as a physical version of a jpeg, or some other digital form of compression. After studying the work of origami tessellation masters, I designed this crease pattern, which actually can be collapsed in a variety of different ways.” Each print requires approximately eight hours to fold by hand, and once folded, it is placed in a shaped frame, designed by the artist, and hung on the wall at an exact angle specified by Auerbach. When viewed in this way, Compression System (Marble) oscillates between flatness and three-dimensionality, ultimately transcending both its labor-intensive process and material; a profound and beautiful abstract work, rich with layered meanings and associations.

Auerbach creates art addressing language and logic through painting, weaving, photography, sculpture, book-making, and instrument-building. Recent work has probed the fields of topology, color perception, and higher spatial dimensions. In her paintings, Auerbach confronts the division between the discrete states of flatness and three-dimensionality—as evidenced in Compression System (Marble)—gesturing toward a possible escape from the latter.


Compression System (Marble), 2013
Pigment print on Asuka 75-gram paper, CNC scored, hand-creased, and folded tessellation
Unframed (edge of work): 25 × 19 in (63.5 × 48.2 cm); unframed (perimeter of work): 31 × 17 3/8 in (78.7 × 44.1 cm); framed: 28 × 47 1/4 in (71.1 × 120 cm)

Edition of 25 with 7 APs, 2 PPs, and BAT
Signed on verso, lower left corner
Printed by Ribuoli Digital (Andre Ribuoli & Jennifer Mahlman)
Published by Lisa Ivorian-Jones for the New Museum

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