International Sculpture Center

   
March 2012
Vol. 31 No 2

A publication of the
International Sculpture Center
New York - Leandro Erlich : Sean Kelly Gallery
by Jonathan Goodman
In the exhibition “Two Different Tomorrows,” Argentinian conceptual sculptor Leandro Erlich addressed the problem of time that he encountered while traveling in Asia: he confused the tomorrow that followed his place of residence with the tomorrow of his gallery’s time zone. Interested in creating a temporal no man’s land, he offered four highly realistic versions of elevators, their verisimilitude so accurate as to reach trompe l’oeil proportions. According to Erlich, an elevator is “a functional object, but one in which life seems to be suspended parenthetically.” These copies, which include an elevator stalled mid-floor, a bank of elevators, an elevator shaft laid out horizontally rather than vertically, and an elevator that opens to reveal changing videos of Japanese riders in Tokyo, are fabulously realistic. ...see the entire review in the print version of March's Sculpture magazine.

Leandro Erlich, installation detail of “Two Different Tomorrows,” 2011.
Toronto - Phillip Beesley: Allen Lambert Galleria
by Margaret Rodgers
It was there for 10 days, and then it was gone—a site-specific piece for the Luminato Festival that expanded and enhanced an already spectacular locale, recalculating traditional notions of both art and architecture. Phillip Beesley’s Sargasso was a spiny, feathery cascade of plastic fronds, bulbs, and electronic gear, a wave-like network responding to atmospheric changes in a slow dance with its viewers/partners. It could have been a pathway for an avatar, a cloud, a sea creature, a glacier, a viral mathematical aberration, or a generator of some kind, and while the science intrigued, it was the artistry that captured the imagination. This beautiful thing tumbled down the center of Santiago Calatrava’s soaring atrium. A massive accumulation of white feathery fronds gradually reacted as viewers entered the space. Beakers containing what appeared to be amber liquid were suspended like light bulbs, some blinking on and off, while inflatable sacs imitated lungs as they puffed out and contracted at glacial speed. It was like walking inside a giant benevolent body, its inner workings exposed. Engulfed by seaweed-like ferns, the viewer became agent, an intelligent interface interacting with external stimuli, creating a dynamic and reciprocal relationship between audience and art....see the entire review in the print version of March's Sculpture magazine.

Phillip Beesley Architect Inc., Sargasso, 2011. Mylar, acrylic, aluminum, latex, glass, custom electronics, Freeduino, and microcontrollers, 36 x 24 x 110 ft.
Leitrim, Ireland - Karl Burke: Leitrim Sculpture Centre
by Adrian Duncan
When confronting a scientific problem, simplification yields the most suitable basis from which to carry out a logical and deductive analysis. This direction of thought is useful in that it brings the world and its phenomena toward the mind, breaking the complex into crude, static moments that can then be analyzed. Intuition is placed outside of this method—between the one who objectively intervenes and the world he or she intervenes into. Karl Burke’s recent solo show, “Tak?ing a Line,” included a series of logical interventions primarily concerned with perceptions of space and time. Either end of the large gallery space held photographic prints, placed directly on the walls, a drawing, a video piece, and a canvas with some painted text. The photographs depict a hand thrust into a sylvan setting (with the thumb, index, and middle finger pointing out Cartesian x, y, and z axes), a mound of boulders with a strip of white tape traced across them, and then a mound of building rubble with some faces of the strewn material painted yellow. ...see the entire review in the print version of March's Sculpture magazine.

Karl Burke, Mound, 2011. Building rubble and yellow paint, dimensions variable.
Paris - Takashi Murakami: Versailles
by Edward Rubin
Once again the battle to save classical French culture from the ugly claws of globalization has been making headlines in France. This time around it was provocateur-artist Takashi Murakami who raised the hackles of Prince Sixte-Henri de Bourbon-Parme, a descendent of Louis XIV, and members of the Coor?dination de la Défense de Versailles, an organization formed to prevent Jeff Koons from exhibiting at the palace in 2008. Condemning Murakami’s “veritable ‘murder’ of our heritage, our artistic identity, and our most sacred culture,” de Bourbon-Parme claimed that the artist’s work disrespects the glory of Versailles: “There are puppets in that exhibition that are frankly grotesque.” Murakami’s exhibition was not derailed, but the “powers that be” did capitulate ever so slightly. The more titillating “body fluid” sculptures, deemed too “explosive” to show, were not on view. ...see the entire review in the print version of March's Sculpture magazine.

Left: Takashi Murakami, Oval Buddha, 2007–10. Bronze and gold leaf, 568 x 312 x 319 cm.
Rome - Rome Biennale: International Exhibition of Sculpture
by Lilly Wei
Billed as the first sculpture biennial in Rome, the original and very ambitious plan was to place contemporary artworks in many of the piazzas of a city celebrated for piazzas—if not for contemporary art (although that might change now with MACRO, MAXXI, and Gagosian). Many of these spaces are already occupied by destination art—one obvious instance is Bernini’s Foun?tain of the Four Rivers in Piazza Navona. It therefore seemed a great idea to site more recent works in the context of a public exhibition, alternating old and new, Italian and international, pegged to the Venice Biennale not so far away. However, due to bureaucratic snafus and other impediments, it was not to be, although the curators, Gloria Porcella and Lamberto Petrecca, are hopeful for the next edition, which they are already planning. This first exhibition, sponsored in part by Roma Capitale and the European Commission, was greatly curtailed, however, confined to the gardens of the Casina Valadier, located on the Pincio not far from the Villa Borghese, and the park of the Villa Torlonia, the residence of Mussolini from 1925–43—two storied (but in Rome, what isn’t) and popular gathering places for Romans and tourists. . ...see the entire review in the print version of March's Sculpture magazine.

Andrew Rogers, Unfurling, 2003. Bronze, 310 x 100 x 120 cm. From the Rome Biennale.
Beijing and Shanghai - Xu Bing: Today Art Museum and Shanghai Expo 2010
by Ellen Pearlman
Xu Bing’s two enormous, 28-meter-long Phoenix sculptures are a pastiche of dangling three-dimensional tales chronicling China’s past, present, and future. Images of these mythical birds dying in flames, then shooting up, reborn from their ashes, have appeared for at least 4,000 years, beginning with early Shang Dynasty pottery motifs. Refer?red to as fenghuang, the phoenix is both feng (male) and huang (female) and is traditionally associated with the Chinese empress. Actually a composite of many birds, it sports the head of a golden pheasant, the body of a mandarin duck, the tail of a peacock, the legs of a crane, the mouth of a parrot, and the wings of a swallow. Each Chinese dynasty developed its own version, and Xu searched the different interpretations to find his exact approach. ...see the entire review in the print version of March's Sculpture magazine.

Xu Bing, Phoenix Project, 2007–10. Construction debris and light-emitting diodes, 2 elements, 27 and 28 meters long.
Singapore - Wee Hong Ling: Sculpture Square
by Phan Ming Yen
A cat hides behind the china cabinet, and a dog sleeps under the studio bench where the artist works. The presence of these two pets in Wee Hong Ling’s “No Place Like Home,” albeit in the form of two-dimensional vinyl cutouts, may seem like a playful gesture; but they are essential to the décor that frames and contextualizes the ceramic works of this Singapore-born and New York-based artist. Wee’s exhibition takes place with- in the framework of the home. Two-dimensional vinyl cutouts on the floor delineate rooms, amenities (such as bathtub and toilet), and some furniture (such as bed and sofa). Actual tables and shelves serve as display units for Wee’s ceramics. Within this context, the two pets are more than afterthoughts; instead, they form an integral part of the space, inviting visitors to suspend disbelief and imagine that they are in their own home or any home of their desire. Whether one prefers a cat to a dog or vice versa, one cannot deny the pet’s place in that house of the imagination. ...see the entire review in the print version of March's Sculpture magazine.

Wee Hong Ling, installation view of "No Place Like Home," 2011.
Mount Tomah, Australia - Rae Bolotin: Blue Mountains Botanic Garden
by Carole Driver
Australian sculptor Rae Bolotin creates works characterized by seductive surfaces and the innovative use of line in space. Born in Tashkent in Uzbekistan, she took an electrical engineering degree and studied art. She came to Australia in 1979 as a refugee. An interior design business led to an interest in space, form, and volume, and, ultimately, to sculpture. The simple outline and form of the apple has intrigued Bolotin since her earliest work in concrete. However, when she became interested in the peel—a form about the absence of form—she had to find a new material. During a residency at the Red Gate Gallery in Beijing, Bolotin studied the ancient Chinese method of metal beating. She wanted to preserve the craft by using it in a contemporary way. Traditionally this method is used for panels of copper, and after initial experimentation with that metal, she decided to work with stainless steel. ...see the entire review in the print version of March's Sculpture magazine.

Rae Bolotin, Peeled World 3, 2007. Stainless steel and baked enamel, 173 x 150 x 130 cm.
Dispatch - 12th Istanbul Biennial
by Hande Eagle
The 12th Istanbul Biennial focused on artists from the Middle East and Latin America. According to “Untitled” co-curator Jens Hoffman, “We were looking for artworks that are formally innovative as well as politically outspoken and that relate to the general themes of the exhibition such as migration, violence, identity, and politics.” The overall theme was drawn from the works of Félix Gonzáles-Torres, whose artistic subjects echoed through the cavernous venue, evoked in various forms, shapes, and styles, though without appearing per se. Hoffman explained, “The work of Félix Gonzáles-Torres brings together the personal and the political in a very unique way. It tells us something about ourselves and the world around us in equal measures. ...see the entire review in the print version of March's Sculpture magazine.

Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset, The Black and White Diary, Fig. 5, 2009. 365 black-and-white and desaturated color prints, installation view.

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