International Sculpture Center

   


October 2013
Vol. 32 No 8

A publication of the
International Sculpture Center

This selection of shows has been curated by Sculpture magazine editorial staff and includes just a few of the great shows around the world.

Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queens University, Kingston, Ontario: Shayne Dark
Through November 3, 2013
Dark’s work is rooted in the materials and forms of the natural world. Like Penone, he draws anthropomorphic connections—particularly in the case of his ironwood and other tree-based sculptures—but his vision takes an uncomfortable, occasionally threatening turn, playing off innate fears and associations. Though somewhat mitigated by intense and unnatural color, these nightmarish, and sometimes aggressive, creations intentionally stretch psychological limits, inhabiting a border­­- land between reality and imagination, life and death, representation and abstraction.
Web site www.aeac.ca

Shayne Dark, Force of Nature.
Bellevue Arts Museum, Bellevue, Washington: Patti Warashina
Through October 27, 2013
Warashina’s highly personalized ceramic sculptures take on a wide range of subject matter, including the human condition, feminism, car culture, and current events. Her Pacific Northwest brand of political and social commentary draws on the offbeat humor and biting satire of Robert Arneson and California Funk but infuses critical observation with curiosity, dream-state imagery (by way of Bosch), and a healthy dose of skepticism. This retrospective of more than 120 works spanning a 50-year career demonstrates her continued willingness to reinvent herself and strike out in new directions—from early altars enshrining/constraining powerful women and tiny china figurines engaged in “naughty” antics to sake sets serving up corporate greed, carnivalesque tableaux, and time-worn but resiliently fierce figures. While the size, technique, mood, and conceptual emphasis of her work might change dramatically, its wit, wisdom, and humanity remain intact.
Web site www.bellevuearts.org


Patti Warashina, Passage Through Venetian Light.
13th Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul
Through November 10, 2013
This year’s biennial, curated by Fulya Erdemci, promises controversy. “Mom, am I barbarian,” referencing a book by poet Lale Müldür, embraces the public domain as a political forum, a battleground capable of conflict and consensus. In dialogue with a city that has spent centuries as a cultural crossroads (arguably exhibiting less xenophobia than its Western neighbors), participating artists challenge prevailing models of spatial-economic politics in an effort to define and create spatial justice for multiple publics and counter-publics. Occupying vacant buildings and factories; semi-private spaces including shopping malls, hotels, and office towers; government structures such as courthouses, schools, and military facilities; and contested outdoor sites such as Taksim Square and Gezi Park, their works raise thorny questions of access and belonging—the offspring of civilization and its exclusionary discontents.
Web site www.iksv.org

Freee, Protest is Beautiful, from the Istanbul Biennial.
Mass MoCA, North Adams, Massachusetts: Xu Bing
Through October 31, 2013
Xu’s Phoenix Project pays homage to a dying culture and city. Rising from leftover building materials and the demolished ruins of traditional Beijing (bulldozed to streamline development on an unprecedented scale), his massive birds attest to dramatic changes in Chinese society since 2008, as rapid accumulation of wealth reshapes familiar neighborhoods and dismantles age-old value systems. Like his multi-part Tobacco Project (also represented here), Phoenix Project employs material as subject in order to explore a wide range of issues, from capital and labor to global trade and the interplay between economic development and social justice. In addition to the two mythological creatures, “Phoenix” features a “tiger-skin” rug created from a field of more than half a million alternately upended cigarettes, as well as a new shadow and light-box work and two recent examples of his ongoing investigation into the limits of language.
Web site www.massmoca.org


Xu Bing, Phoenix Project (detail).
The Morgan Library & Museum, New York: Monika Grzymala
Through November 3, 2013
For more than 10 years, Grzymala has transformed drawn line into space, plane, landscape, performance, and sculpture. Her work—which she defines as thought guided by the hand—always pushes boundaries, reconsidering how we define artworks, their materials, and possible locations. Using adhesive tape, handmade washi paper, paper clay, and a wide range of other unlikely implements, she creates large-scale installations grounded in the idea of drawing that expand into three dimensions through bodily movement in space. At the Morgan, she has suspended 5,000 sheets of handmade paper (some printed with images of manuscripts from the collection) in a dazzling cascade. A visual celebration of paper as the “pictorial carrier” of human creativity, Volumen signals the importance of intellectual curiosity, drawing playful associative connections across sculptural volume, bookish volumes, and illumination through knowledge.
Web site www.themorgan.org


Monika Grzymala, Volumen.
Mount Stuart, Isle of Bute, U.K.: Lucy Skaer
Through October 31, 2013
In 2009, when Skaer was nominated for the Turner Prize, she remarked, “I’m interested in a state of between-ness, and that state you find if one thing transforms to another.” Her work—everything from the clandestine housing of moth and butterfly pupae inside criminal courtrooms to Modernist sculptural icons recast in coal dust—explores this notion in a variety of ways, conjoining abstraction and materiality in resonant hybrids that are both of and out of time, intimately private and openly public. For her, history becomes a liminal site, particularly the real and mythologized past of England. Her Mount Stuart interventions grow out of the neo-gothic architecture of the house, tracing new relationships and entanglements in the Marble Hall, conservatory, drawing room, library, and chapel.
Web site www.mountstuart.com

Lucy Skaer, Chapel Sculpture.
Museo Correr, Venice: Anthony Caro
Through October 27, 2013
This survey celebrates the 50th anniversary of Caro’s first exhibition of steel sculpture. After abandoning figurative modeling in clay and casting in bronze, he turned to constructing and welding in steel, overturning conventional ideas about materials, method, surface, scale, form, and space. While he insisted on the immediate physical presence of sculpture, placing his work directly on the ground and in the viewer’s space, he also restored a lyrical harmony to abstraction, even in works employing raw industrial materials. The nearly 30 works gathered here, including the celebrated Paper Sculptures and a selection of now-iconic steel works, highlight his major stylistic concerns: forms engaged in space, new abstract analogies for the human figure and landscape, and the more recent “sculptitecture”—dialogues between sculpture and architecture.
Web site http://correr.visitmuve.it


Anthony Caro, River Song.
Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach, Germany: Textiles: Open Letter
Through November 10, 2013
One of the earliest achievements in human culture, textiles did more than clothe bodies and insulate living spaces—their structural systems doubled as language, storing knowledge within form. With the rise of abstraction in modern art, and its accompanying interest in signification, ancient textiles became a primary, if often unacknowledged, source of inspiration, demonstrating how beauty and complexity could be achieved through pure geometry, seriality, and repetition. But textiles could not find purchase to rise in the fine art hierarchy (despite Bauhaus leveling), and a whiff of (women’s) craft remained, defiantly defended and violated by the ground-breaking sculptural experiments of 1970s fiber art, led by Abakanowicz, Hicks, Tawney, and others. Adopting the title of an Anni Albers tapestry, “Textiles: Open Letter” invites us to rethink the role of fiber methods and materials in the development of Modernism and to shape a more nuanced narrative in which the contributions of feminist praxis become a decisive factor in contemporary art.
Web site www.museum-abteiberg.de


Sheela Gowda, Behold, from “Textiles.”
Museum of Modern Art, New York: Soundings
Through November 3, 2013

As the experience of sound becomes increasingly private, shared aural spaces, with their overheard snippets and complex layerings, have fallen into decline. “Soundings” argues that how we listen determines what we hear, offering a communal exploration of sound as a decidedly social—and spatial—phenomenon in which context is everything. Sixteen innovative artists approach this still relatively undefined territory from a variety of disciplinary angles—visual art, architecture, performance, computer programming, and music—though they share an interest in working with rather than against material realities and environments. From visualizations of the inaudible and synaesthetic correspondences to mappings of sound trajectories and field recordings (echolocating bats, abandoned buildings in Chernobyl, and the bells of New York City), their explorations promote active, physically engaged listening, linking disparate topographies and ideas.
Tel: 212.708.9400
Web site www.moma.org

Sergei Tcherepnin, Motor-Matter Bench, from “Soundings.”

Storm King, Mountainville, New York: Thomas Houseago
Through November 11, 2013
Houseago takes a Janus-like approach to sculpture, looking simultaneously to the past and the future. His deconstructed figures strike classical poses, but their shifts between solid mass and hollow planarity betray a steady interchange between the traditional and the postmodern. All about process, these primitive, totemic beings exude daring urgency, tactility, and brute physicality, every crude gesture countered by an equally sophisticated reference. At the same time, they recall Boccioni’s challenge to show space as both molding device and something to be molded. Unapologetic and relentless in their evocations, these statues for contemporary times shoulder a difficult psychological role, serving as awkward, unresolved reminders of the past. In addition to works on paper and reliefs in the galleries, this retrospective features 25 wild figures moving through the landscape in search of origins and meaning.
Web site www.stormkingartcenter.org


Thomas Houseago, Striding Figure II (Ghost).
Tate Britain, London: Simon Starling
Through October 20, 2013
Starling, the winner of the 2005 Tur­ner Prize, is fascinated with process—both physical and intellectual. While playfully exploring the links that connect craft, material, and technique, his work also absorbs the histories, contexts, and social nuances of a locale or object. A single piece or operation can reveal countless contradictions. Part utopian visionary and part critic, he describes his work as “the physical manifestation of a thought process.” Revealing hidden histories and relationships while transforming one object or substance into another, his sculptures, installations, and pilgrimage-like journeys draw out ideas about nature, technology, and economics. For his Tate Britain commission, he invites viewers to take a “rollercoaster ride on invisible rails” through memories of the Duveen galleries. The illusionary projections of Phantom Ride cut back and forth on a looping trajectory, following a vanished course of ghostly apparitions.
Web site www.tate.org.uk

Simon Starling, Five-Man Pedersen (Prototype No.1).
Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary—Augarten, Vienna: Cerith Wyn Evans
Through November 3, 2013
In “The What If?...Scenario (after LG),” Wyn Evans borrows a title and a strategy from Liam Gillick, setting the stage for a multitude of potentialities, contingencies, and uncertainties. What we think we see and know is no longer certain; neither is how we come to know it. Rejecting positivist affirmation, Wyn Evans offers “weak connections” that illuminate only an endless sequence of conundrums. His light works, shown together here for the first time, unfold a maze of artistic, literary, and scientific references, projecting scenarios with no fixed plot or ending. Speaking chandeliers, Morse code-emitting apparatuses, and dramatizations of perceptual habits disrupt familiar associative and cognitive patterns, locating gaps and hinting at slippages and errors in translation. A Community Predicated on the Basic Fact Nothing Really Matters, a new work that crosses the search for the “God” particle with the chemical formula for LSD, brings us to a precipice where experience, vision, and perception are forced to take a leap of imaginative faith.
Web site www.tba21.org

Cerith Wyn Evans, One evening late in the war….

Versailles, Paris: Giuseppe Penone
Through October 31, 2013
Penone’s insights into the relationship between nature and culture derive from close observation of the principles governing growth and form, but his work takes unexpected twists as he explores “vegetal man and anthropomorphized nature.” The gardens of Versailles, on the other hand, admit of no such ambiguity. Their rigid formality and idealized representational space—nature subdued, cleansed, and purified—serve to map the pristine allées of the rational mind—all to the greater glory of man. The juxtaposition of these opposing approaches is not comfortable, though Penone’s sensuous, phenomenological approach to the world injects an invigorating dose of the feral and the unpredictable into this well-ordered, sterile universe. Despite the unruly and joyously transgressive animistic energy of his “uncivilized” works, their presence isn’t enough to disrupt the rigorously policed architectonics. Though they don’t restore the balance between nature and man at Versailles, they unveil the colonizing mindset as nothing else could, reminding us of our proper role as bit players in a larger production that exceeds our attempts at direction and control.
Web site http://en.chateauversailles.fr

Giuseppe Penone, Spazio di luce.

Wanås, Knislinge, Sweden: Jeppe Hein
Through October 27, 2013
While Hein’s work seems to belong to the Minimalist continuum, his geometrically refined objects and installations go against the grain, setting up an incongruous dialogue with viewers. Moving walls, shaking cubes, gravity-defying kinetic sculptures, and modified functional constructions redefine indoor and outdoor space while perplexing even the most willing participants. “Honestly Happy,” the follow-up to “A Smile For You” at the Bonniers Konsthall, continues his meditative inquiry into the nature of happiness and success. What do we want out of life? Are socially dictated ambitions counterproductive? Here, he goes beyond personal answers. Initiating a public conversation through ads, postcards and posters, Facebook, and even balloons, he asked others to define this most illusive of states. The responses join a selection of related works that use unpredictability to find contentment and “offer a moment of being right here right now.”
Web site www.wanas.se

Jeppe Hein, Modified Social Bench #35.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Bretton, Wakefield, U.K.: Lucy + Jorge Orta
Through November 3, 2013
The Ortas bridge sculpture, performance, fashion, and architecture to produce conceptual and functional works that address real-world problems caused by everything from climate change to war. Their clothing designs, survival kits, and modular dwellings, developed with community groups around the world, give assistance in natural, social, and political disasters and provide shelter/protection for people living in precarious and marginal situations. Other models and machines substitute humor for sobriety, absurdity for practical necessity. These jerry-built contraptions suggest alternative means to purify, prepare, and transport food and water or launch humanitarian efforts. Regardless of their practicality, the “instigator sculptures,” as Lucy Orta calls them, move us toward greater awareness and action. This show features new works devoted to water, including a contemporary version of The Raft of the Medusa and an outdoor bronze from the ongoing “Spirits” series.
Web site www.ysp.co.uk

Lucy + Jorge Orta, Cloud House I.


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