On Big Drawings

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Several Mysteries is a large drawing,  a non-linear story, that includes multiple forks-in-the-road and several fictitious, film-noir-like mysteries relating to the recent political, social and economic shifts of a country and its capital city and how these changes have affected the lives of its inhabitants. The narrative unfolds over 23 smaller drawings and includes hand-drawn texts, architectural plans, illustrations, diagrams, xeroxed photographs and collages.


Several Mysteries is based on Greece’s current events and alludes  to Greece but never mentions Greece or Athens specifically by name in order to maintain a level of mystery and to give the impression that aspects of what is unfolding in Greece could occur anywhere.


The story is narrated by an outsider with a self-deprecating, self-doubting voice, who is only ever referred to throughout the story as “you,” allowing for the viewer/reader to assume the role of the outsider. This outsider naively and unreliably attempts to make heads or tails of what he/she experiences while traveling through the city. The narrator often jumps to illogical or ridiculous conclusions at times, but also wonders if there are versions of events that aren’t being told or perhaps are known by some but are being overshadowed by the more official stories in heavy circulation.


"Several Mysteries"

2013

Suite of 23 drawings

acrylic, graphite, tape, photo collage on paper

17 x 11 inches | 43 x 28 cm each drawing       

Presented at "AGORA", the 4th Athens Biennale

Athens, Greece

September 29 to December 1, 2013



Deb Sokolow: Abrons Art Center
Artforum. com
by Brian Droitcour
August 8, 2011

Deb Sokolow's Notes on Denver International Airport and the New World Order, 2011, has the makings of a paperback thriller you'd buy at an airport: a shadowy cabal of powerful men, a blue-collar crackpot who claimed to know their
secret and died strangely, and an anonymous journalist who comes out of nowhere to supply the protagonist with a file of classified memos. The protagonist is Sokolow. But in her telling--written alongside diagrams, blueprints,
photographs, and news clippings that are printed or taped on sheets of cheap copy paper--she becomes "you." The use of the second-person pronoun evades the diaristic while sharing doubt with more immediacy.

In Sokolow's work, the affect of uncertainty doesn't stop at conspiracy theories about the "New World Order" and their meeting place under the Denver International Airport. A question about the tons of dirt removed from the airport at night
expands to wonder about the secrecy of anything done under cover of darkness. Halfway through the parabola of panels, "you" travel to Denver to see what "you" can observe for yourself. But there's no evidence besides suspicious
activity. As "you" poke around, "you" are trailed by a truck, and by a Dairy Queen employee who roams an airport without a Dairy Queen. The last panel shows four chambers connected by a square of corridors, white against a black field.
One chamber is black but smeared with correction fluid. Is this supposed to be part of the airport? The imagined bunker? You're only certain that it's an enlargement of an image from the first panel. But the close-up shows nothing new.

About half of the text was penciled in after the pictures were hung, and there are signs of second-guessing: words obscured by graphite squares, awkward enjambments. Any seasoned viewer knows that rough-edged spontaneity in works
on paper implies intimacy, honesty, confession, or sometimes testament. And here it's certainly a contrast to the televised flashiness that often spreads conspiracy theory. But Sokolow refreshes these clichés by circulating them among
truth and secrecy on a global scale. Do you trust an artwork by Deb Sokolow more than a television show hosted by Jesse Ventura? Are her methods any less manipulative? Does she want to convince you of anything other than doubt?
www. artinamericamagazine. com


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