Tal R.: Keyhole at Cheim & Read

Installation shot of Tal R. “Keyhole” at Cheim and Read

The Cheim & Read gallery in Chelsea is presenting an enigmatic collection of work by Danish artist Tal R. in an exhibition titled Keyhole.

For his third solo show at the gallery, Tal R. conveys notions of voyeurism, curiosity, and privacy with drawings and paintings inspired by photographs of bars, clubs, storefronts and apartments taken at his request by friends and acquaintances in red light districts they encountered on their travels.

The subjects are quite direct and have an “in-your-face” quality about them.

One colorful painting that fits the slightly naughty theme of the show perfectly is Keyhole, featuring a maroon-colored keyhole near the center of a bright pink triangle. It’s surrounded by a doorway colored orange and peach and set in a room with a wall colored in different shades of purple and resting on a forest-green rug. The arms of a chair emerge from either side.

A more brazen piece is a drawing titled Pussy depicting a club with a sign that reads “Pussy’s.” Beneath the sign, the main hallway can be seen with a black carpet and black posters on pink and dark blue walls. At the end of the hallway, are two closed doors with small circular windows outlined in pink.

Tal R CABARET, 2016, Pigment and rabbit skin glue on canvas, 67 3/4 x 97 5/8 inches 172.1 x 248 centimeters

With the painting Cabaret, Tal R. uses a stark contrast of warm and cool colors.

Unlike Pussy’s the venue seen in this piece is more anonymous, simply bearing the title “Cabaret Club” in simple, thin blueprint against a bright yellow border. The thinner border beneath it is more of a golden color while the building itself consists of striped patterns varying in size where the thicker stripes have colors such as golden yellow, tan, light pink, and green, and the thinner stripes are simply brown or black.

But it does channel Pussy in its imagery. It has two crimson colored doors with circular orange windows; a larger, curvy and somewhat unevenly shaped navy blue window can be seen a few inches to the right. Cabaret’s sister painting Cabaret Closed depicts the rear of the venue with horizontal pink and yellow stripes dominating the page.


Tal R, PUSSY, 2014, Crayon on painted paper, 13 3/4 x 10 1/4 inches 34.9 x 26 centimeters

In addition to his colored drawings, Tal R. also includes some black and white pieces such as that of a club reading the words L’Evasion with the wide, black, triangular door standing out against the brick wall. On the right side of the door is a small box with buttons that serve as a lock as the door can only be opened with a specific code.

On the left side of the door a blank, white sign can be seen with a halo hovering over it and above that is a poster with two shapes representing keys, one small and one large like a top and bottom lock. That same image of the keys can also be found in a black and white drawing of a coffee shop with an awning that reads Amigo in relaxed, friendly cursive.

At Cheim & Read, 547 W. 25th St., through Feb. 11. The gallery is open Tues.-Sat. from 10 a.m.—6 p.m.

Installation shot of Tal R. “Keyhole” at Cheim and Read
Installation shot of Tal R. “Keyhole” at Cheim and Read
Tal R KEYHOLE, 2016, Pigment and rabbit skin glue on canvas, 94 1/2 x 74 inches 240 x 188 centimeters
Installation shot of Tal R. “Keyhole” at Cheim and Read
Alison Martin

Alison Martin

Alison Martin Alison Martin is a lifelong resident of New York City. She loves to write and is very passionate about covering the top contemporary art exhibits in New York City and all over the world.

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