Text by Laurence Benaïm
Andy Warhol and his peers filled the shopping carts of pop art during a period of hyperconsumption. Allison Zuckerman cuts into the flesh of our age to scalp out pieces of reality reduced to selfies and followers. While space may have shrunk in the twenty-first century, it has also grown infinite: while the virtual «canvas» hasn’t replaced that of the artist, both have grown into a networked existence. This is how one savors the millefeuille. Some slice it horizontally, others crush their fork into the spurting custard. Anyone can see themselves in these razor sharp mirror portraits. Pop culture exclamations have become emojis, and logos have become postures, like the models showing their commercial «H&M» smile in Ruben Ostlund’s Triangle of Sadness, winner of the Cannes 2022 Palme d’or. And so this millefeuille goes, not only layering decades, but references to art history and technique, as seen from an era in the process of a digital deconstruction. Alternating between studio days and paint-box nights on her computer, Allison Zukerman is part of that mutant, global generation, willingly led back to square one like others return to Mount Athos or to prayer: the Academy as a temple of knowledge and arts. Quoting George Condo, who, as the prince of artificial realism, advocated the interchangeability of all of art’s idioms, Allison Zuckermann gladly combines references to old masters with comics, Instagram stories with Snapchat heroes and reality TV icons. App culture is put at work through collages, turning Dora Maar into an influencer, while Renaissance beauties addicted to contouring surf the waxed canvas of an aptly nailed, global bad taste. Like a pastry chef emptying her pastry bag, we see her standing among her dyes and dolled-up fruits. Her multifaceted heroines speak in shambles of America and its prohibitions: the unease is palpable between the
grimacing Joker-like faces and the steps of a desperate housewife perched in yellow stilettos on a square of badly mowed grass. Technology is not an end in itself, but a medium, another reason to infiltrate real and virtual layers, to pixelate appearances, to divert codes, to pinpoint the trivial violence of a gesture, the too loud hilarity of a white-toothed grin, to reveal the world through a truth-telling artifice. And taking along bits of everything, fragments of Erro, memories of comic strips, the torn pages of an encyclopedia... Pop surrealism? Through the mise en abîme of daily life deformed by the surgery of appearances -- implants, fake nails, good moods at a price -- Allison Zuckerman succeeds in conveying a sense of play, of distance. «Spaghetti Western», «Bar Scene», «La Dauphine», «Hula» are all natural guests of Absurdia. On the theme «Our Phones are not us», the artist confirms that figuration in the image realm still holds its share of improbability, of imagination and unknown. Like her white butterflies shaped like post-it notes, neon felt music notes, children’s sticker-like clouds, her digital collages capture reality to further overexpose it. Cubist noses and botoxed smiles telescope in a world saturated with lipstick reds and a palette of M&M candy. At the heart of a joyful apocalypse, crazed hyperconsumption takes the card players of George de la Tour hostage, while chaos is ordered in a singular, borderline vision. Little by little, we become voyeurs of ourselves. «The illustration is literal,» Allison Zuckerman assures us. Art leaves more room for interpretation. And I believe that’s what makes
all the difference.»
Allison Zuckerman (b. 1990) lives and works in New York, NY.