Dissolve and Come Back: Sara Birns in Milan

Must read

Cassina Projects, Milan // November 28, 2023 – January 27, 2024

Cassina Projects is pleased to present Dissolve and Come Back, Sara Birns‘ first solo exhibition with the gallery. In her recent sit down with us on Radio Juxtapoz, Birns spoke about her process and upcoming work, so check it below to delve deep into her career.

Hyperrealistic, peculiar grimaces and twisted expressions set the tempo in Sara Birns’ whimsical world of distorting, funhouse mirrors. Using old master oil techniques, Birns paints personified fauna and portraits mingling features of various individuals as well as her own, hinting at a kaleidoscopic universe where diverse beings fuse into new eerie creatures, appearing as if plucked from feverish dreams. A sense of familiarity intertwines with compelling disquiet, suggesting departure from the ordinary.

The otherwise blank space oddly dissolves to give way to the conjuring of wilderness; crepuscular-lit swamps and windswept fields inhabited by beings not-quite-human and sweet anthropomorphic amphibians. Surrealistic compositions interfere with hardwired facial recognition, as Birns playfully engages in a sisyphean task; grasping the volatile essence of existence in its entirety. 

On the shimmering surfaces of still lakes and crystal clear ponds, deformed reflections stare right back boldly, beyond the painted realms they belong to. Partially resembling the artist, these phantom mirror images remain blissfully unaware of watchful eyes on them – as if possessed by a life of their own – and allude to hazy domains where the real, the perceived and the reflected collide. 

“Sara Birns shatters every pattern on which we base our beliefs, pushing the surreal boundaries of creativity and infusing her work with a unique perspective that challenges traditional norms, thus opening up new paths of expression. The subject-objects, portrayed with maniacal attention to detail, mutate and outwardly manifest their inner motions: intimate and profound. Birns celebrates the Memory, which does not reproduce but creates, hybrid and metamorphic.” (Edoardo Monti) 

Eccentric details meticulously positioned on the edges of works such as Puddle (2023) and Disruptions of the Butterfly (2023), generate baffling illusions of depth, for the wrinkly depicted flesh somehow stretches perfectly over and around the flat canvases, liquid across static frames. All the while someone lays carelessly on feathery grass in Dispersion in the Clovers (2023), a faint moon signals the imminent arrival of night, casting a serene spell over the bizarre scene. The composition unfolds as if from a tilted vantage point, employing a perspective askew, emblematic of the artist’s distinctive approach.

Representing fleeting reminiscences, fictitious constructs or subtle nuances discovered through the reenacting of experiences, Birns prompts reflection on the transcendent, elusive nature of interpretation.

More articles

Latest article