Brigitte Riesebrodt | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Brigitte Riesebrodt

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In the four oil and wax paintings by Chicagoan Brigitte Riesebrodt on view at the Cook County Administration Building, the dense layers of fuzzy script evoke palimpsests and archaeological digs. She blurs the writing, making it mostly unreadable, and in Safekeeping her own red-and-black handwriting is displayed upside down. Some of the words are identifiable as English or German--she was born in Germany--but Landscape 1 also includes pages of Chinese text, and the layering in that work seems especially deep. Riesebrodt's layers float in space, as if representing realms of knowledge or eras of history that can't be pinned down, and looking at her paintings is a bit like looking into a past obscured by natural decay, at ruins of civilizations whose languages are no longer decipherable. It seems wonderfully perverse that these works are installed in the administration building, where their rectangles echo the deadeningly rational architecture of the atrium, while their obscuring fog reconfigures language as indefinite and vague--a lesson the county's employees surely won't apply literally. Cook County Administration Building, 69 W. Washington, atrium, through April 4. Hours are 8 to 6 Monday through Friday and 8 to 1 Saturday; 773-324-5520.

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