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How to Have Courage:
A Conversation with Michelle Lopez

by Andrew Cornell Robinson


“The Violent Bear It Away,” Michelle Lopez’s 2009 exhibition at Simon Preston Gallery in New York, featured three new sculptures, each masking a subtext of terrorist warfare and exploring an abject form of violence and entropy. While a departure from Lopez’s earlier work, these pieces continued her investigations into the human condition and how the physical body is transformed through tragedy and experience. These themes are also present in her best-known work—eloquent appropriations from the mythographic universe of Star Wars. In Lopez’s blending of sci-fi vernacular, material decay, and cultural critique, the projected future is present and the present functions as a ruin. Her mutated relics of the Death Star, C-3PO, and other familiar icons, exquisitely crafted in materials ranging from resin and prosthetic foam to bronze, become part of a larger project that investigates the boundaries between the grandiose and the pathetic by devolving discrete, identifiable form into haunting anthropomorphic abstraction.

C3PO, 2008.
Bronze, 5 x 23 x 17 in.

Image: Kelly Barbie, Courtesy the artist and LAXART, Los Angeles.


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