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September 2014
Vol. 33 No. 7

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.

Daelim Museum, Seoul: Troika
Through October 12, 2014
TroikaFounded by Royal College of Art graduates Conny Freyer, Sebastien Noel, and Eva Rucki in 2003, Troika embraces a variety of media and disciplines. From graphics and products to sculptures and installations, the studio’s work underscores connections between science and art, technological advancement and human emotion. Though the collective’s members are fascinated by technology—kinetic, optical, sonic, and electronic—what really interests them is its impact on individuals. Works such as Sonic Marshmallows (communicative sound sculptures), Cloud (a futuristic/nostalgic reinvention of the flip dot information board), and the electroprobe (a device for listening to electrical currents) strive for immediacy and find it at the intersection of art, magic, and science. Here, technology is more than an end in itself; instead, it becomes a means to explore the seemingly impossible, unverifiable, and irrational things that surround us. “Persistent Illusions” features a range of new and recent works that rationalize the phenomena of light, movement, and sound, including a new iteration of Cloud and a preview of The Sum of All Possibilities, a public artwork scheduled to debut in Seoul later this year.
Web site www.daelimmuseum.org


Troika, Arcades
DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, Massachusetts: Lesley Dill
Through October 13, 2014
Lesley DillA sculptor, photographer, printmaker, and performance artist, Dill has spent 20 years exploring the human form, language, and sensory experience. Language is her “touchstone [and] pivot point”: stitched and woven into her works, the words of Emily Dickinson, Salvador Espriu, Franz Kafka, and other writers find a new kind of visual life. This exhibition features 16 works made between 1993 and 2012, ranging from drawings, bronze and paper dress sculptures, and a large-scale metal and fiber tapestry to outdoor sculpture. While her early works display an ephemeral lightness of touch and a quiet spirituality, these recent pieces open fresh avenues into materiality, using the metaphors of language and clothing to explore the elusive boundaries separating mind, body, and spirit.
Web site www.decordova.org

Lesley Dill, installation view with (left to right) Dress of Opening and Close of Being, Rapture’s Germination, and Wood Word Woman with Wood Word Pedestal

DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, Massachusetts: Ian Hamilton Finlay
Through October 13, 2014
Ian Hamilton FinlayAfter founding Wild Hawthorn Press in 1961 and publishing hundreds of artists’ books, Finlay became one of Great Britain’s foremost practitioners of concrete poetry, wedding language to sculptural form. In 1966, he built Little Sparta, a garden in Dunsyre, Scotland, which became the site for the ultimate realization of his aesthetic program, a place of cultural inquiry and criticism disguised as a pastoral sanctuary. Arcadian in scope and inspiration, Finlay’s sculptures embrace a pre-classical fusion of beauty and violence, the sacred and the profane, restoring symbolic power to an assimilated and moribund tradition: Apollo trades his harp for hand grenades, Aphrodite wears a bloody necklace in memory of the guillotine. Language, too, enters into this merger, as epigrams and word plays underscore the interrelated necessities to reclaim civic and aesthetic values and to reconcile nature and modern society. “Arcadian Revolutionary and Avant-Gardener,” the first U.S. show of Finlay’s work since his death in 2006, features more than 200 sculptures, prints, and books that confront history in order to take responsibility for the future.
Web site www.decordova.org


Ian Hamilton Finlay, The Honey, n. The First Sweetness and Honey Was The Best Gasoline
Haus der Kunst, Munich: Manfred Pernice
Through September 21, 2014
Manifred PernicePernice’s deliberately makeshift sculptures suggest cargo holds, architectural fragments, and utopian models for unrealizable buildings. The container— whether skyscraper, shipping vessel, underground station, tin can, or dustbin—becomes a tool to break apart architecture’s physical constrictions and mechanisms of social control and to correct its obsessions with systematizing, categorizing, packaging, and regulating. Scale plays an important role in these plywood and chipboard constructions: a can, for instance, exchanges meaning and function with an office tower. The ensuing dialogue points up the manipulated nature of social space, which is a prime concern in his new commission Tutti IV. Part recycled sculpture, part gallery within a gallery (showing a rotating installation of works by other artists), and part domestic interior, this hybrid “formation” disrupts the well-trod functionality of the museum’s Middle Hall, offering unmapped routes that lead to spontaneity.
Web site www.hausderkunst.de


Manfred Pernice, Tutti IV.
International Space for Emerging Artists (LiFE), Saint-Nazaire, France: Jeppe Hein
Through October 5, 2014
Jeppe HeinWhile Hein’s work seems to belong to the continuum of the Minimalist tradition, his geometrically refined objects and installations go against the grain, setting up incongruous dialogues with the viewer. Moving walls, mirrored theaters, shaking cubes, gravity-defying kinetic sculptures, and modified functional constructions redefine indoor and outdoor space while perplexing even the most willing participants. As playful as they might seem, these triggered sculptural encounters deny the uncomplicated pleasures of “recreational” art, replacing fun with a more problematic dynamic that occasionally verges on the perilous. Distance—newly imagined and expanded into a labyrinthine circuit—doesn’t carry the same threat level as 360° Presence in which a motion-sensing steel ball plots a random course of destruction, but its reaction to human trespass is nonetheless disconcerting. Channeling Fritz Lang, Tinguely, as well as the frisson of the fairground, Distance pitches us headfirst into the world of the machine, where we quickly lose all ability to control what we’ve set in motion.
Web site www.grandcafe-saintnazaire.fr


Jeppe Hein, Distance.
Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin: Isabel Nolan
Through September 21, 2014
Isabel Nolan
Nolan’s startling objects take wildly unpredictable forms, but they evolve out of an almost scholarly process of investigation. Her need to account for the enduring strangeness of the world—even its most intimately familiar forms—begins with intensive inquiries into everything from cosmological and botanical phenomena to literary and historical texts, then shifts into sculpture. Her recent work, in particular, reveals an extraordinary capacity to manifest the uncertainties and the precarious, lightning-fast insights of the questing, subjective consciousness as it struggles toward understanding. Resembling nothing so much as grandiose doodles, these works some­how manage to make the tentative, the exploratory, and the impulsive dramatically, imposingly real. The sculptures, texts, drawings, and textiles that compose her new project, The weakened eye of day (from a Thomas Hardy poem), offer an extended meditation on light as metaphor and requirement for life, from the formation of the earth’s crust to the death of the sun.
Web site www.imma.ie


Isabel Nolan, installation view of The Weakened Eye of Day.
Israel Museum, Jerusalem: Doug + Mike Starn
Through October 1, 2014
Doug and Mike StarnFrom the conceptual starting point of organic growth, Doug and Mike Starn have crafted a vivid physical experience and monumental oxymoron—a playful and invigorating series of monumental sculptures that embrace change in their very structure and give artistic life to the transience of forms in motion. Part forest, part rollercoaster, part human habitrail, 5,000 Arms to Hold You, the ninth and largest iteration of Big Bambú, consists of thousands of fresh-cut bamboo poles (from thickly trunked mature specimens to fresh shoots) lashed together in seemingly random free fall. As the sibling team explains, Big Bambú “represents the invisible architecture of life…It is the random interdependence of moments, trajectories intersecting, and actions becoming interaction.” Darkly mysterious and entangled from below, this feat of “philosophic engineering” comes into its own as visitors scale and descend the elevated pathways, following the course of order as traced through the chaos of becoming.
Web site www.english.imjnet.org.il


Doug + Mike Starn, Big Bambú: 5,000 Arms to Hold You.
Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna: New Ways of Doing Nothing
Through October 12, 2014
Claire Fontaine
The hamster-wheel of labor spins to the incessant drone of “productivity, growth, efficiency,” chanted at ever-greater volume and speed as working hours are deregulated and the line between work and leisure disappears. Even artistic work is not immune, as creative independence is diverted by professionalization and self-optimization. And yet idleness, inaction, and laziness (as defined in capitalist terms) are often the wellsprings of invention. It is more than tempting to follow the example of Herman Melville’s Bartleby, to jump off the wheel and declare, “I would prefer not to,” to take a stand of resistance through stoic negativity. This show rises to the challenge with a wide variety of works in which “doing nothing” generates its own latent potential, offering a momentary, if ultimately utopian, respite from the demands and impositions of activity.
Web site www.kunsthallewien.at


Claire Fontaine, Bartleby le Scribe Brickbat from New Ways of Doing Nothing.
Kunsthaus Graz, Graz, Austria: Katharina Grosse
Through October 12, 2014

Katharina GrosseTaking inspiration from frescos, plein-air painting, Abstract Expressionism, and urban graffiti, Grosse explores how painting can “appear in space”—in the dimensional realm of sculpture and architecture. Her installations of bright acrylic paint sprayed onto walls, ceilings, floors, piles of dirt, furnishings, and sculpted Styrofoam and fiberglass constructions give color palpable, unruly, and monumental form. Who, I? Whom, you?, her new color stage, flows in swirling, sometimes vertiginous explosions of saturated energy, willfully skewing the rigid stability of rectilinear space in favor of a direct, evolutionary, and physical dynamic that undermines the experiential nature of matter as we know it.
Web site www.museum-joanneum.at/de/kunsthaus

Katharina Grosse, Who, I? Whom, You?

Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst, Aachen, Germany: Pawel Althamer
Through September 21, 2014
Pawel AlthamerA traditional sculptor of highly realistic figures as well as a radical interventionist, Althamer orchestrates situations and events that place real people—including the homeless, prison inmates, illegal workers, street musicians, and children—in alternative or parallel realities where they have the power of creative input and execution. A Children’s Kingdom, his new experimental project created in collaboration with Warsaw’s Reactor—Sculpture Lab, extends from the garden of the Ludwig Forum through public space to annex a nearby church. Responding to the 1,200th anniversary of the death of Charlemagne, this multi-part re-creation of familiar institutions through costumes, temporary monuments, workshops, and actions brings participants of all ages together to reconsider power, authority, and freedom. Inside, a new iteration of A Draftsmen’s Congress invites dialogue through drawing, while an Open Academy encourages adults to recapture the candid naivety expressed by children. The Secret of the Phaistos Disc, another new Althamer work at the Deste Foundation in Athens at www.deste.gr through September 29, takes a different approach to experimental communication, though it also emphasizes a return to child-like simplicity and trust in the creative act. Here, sculpture, performance through puppets, and a continually mutating collaborative narrative draw inspiration from two important artifacts in the history of communication—a Bronze Age medallion with the first known encoded information and the Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus, said to contain the secret of prima materia and its transmutations. These arcane artifacts become talismans that unlock messages beyond conventional social structures, their meanings originating in the depths of the imagination.
Web site www.ludwigforum.de


Pawel Althamer, Common Task .
Pinchuk Art Centre, Kyiv, Ukraine: Jan Fabre
Through October 5, 2014
Jan FabreVisual artist, playwright, and stage director, Fabre explores the border between reality and dream, creating impressive fantasy works that frequently descend into nightmare. His bizarre mix of animal and human metamorphoses, unusual and uncanny materials (particularly jewel beetle wings), and eye for the theatrical tableau reveal a world difficult to measure by conventional artistic standards. His installations range from the stunningly gorgeous to the chillingly disturbing—effects made all the more visceral by a seamless interlocking of borrowed and experienced images. This show marks the final phase in his ongoing critique of Belgium’s rape of the Congo, confiscated by Leopold II in 1884 as his “private garden” and rapidly reduced to a hell on earth, its population enslaved and its resources gutted. Adapting the imagery and iconography of Hieronymus Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights, Fabre’s new beetle-wing mosaics and sculptures put a name to the evil that arises when greed overcomes humanity.
Web site www.pinchukartcentre.org

Jan Fabre, The Pecker at the Sap of Life.
Tate Britain, London: Phyllida Barlow
Through October 19, 2014
Phyllida BarlowBarlow makes large-scale sculptures from rubber, tarpaulin, bitumen, concrete, aluminum foil, rags, paint, wooden pallets, and plaster. Such materials—often sourced directly from city streets—offer an important advantage: their contingency bypasses the gravitas and status of stone and metal, parodying traditional aims of heroic monumentality. Assembled quickly and intuitively, her sculptures become distant memories of objects that reject faithful reconstruction in order to transform architectural space. In dock 2014, a colossal, seven-part wreck washes ashore in Tate Britain’s neoclassical Duveen Galleries, the flotsam of crushed towers, crashed lintels, stockade crates, and broken sculptures reintroducing all of the instability, absurdity, and transience denied by an afterlife of perpetuity. Like most of her works, dock 2014 will be dismantled and its materials recycled after this impossible-to-repeat, here-and-now encounter.
Web site www.tate.org.uk

Phyllida Barlow, Dock 2014.

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York: Jeff Koons
Through October 19, 2014
Jeff Koons Love him or hate him, Koons mirrors society’s obsessions. Though his work makes obeisance at the altars of celebrity, sport, porn, and the marketplace, he is at best an ambivalent acolyte, replacing faith with cynicism and negating simple divisions between appearance and reality, surface and depth, and art and commodity. With roots in Pop, Minimalism, and conceptualism, his sculptures modeled on store-bought products dramatize mass-produced culture while exposing the subtleties of marketing. Unlike his ’60s predecessors, however, Koons also addresses our psychological investment in consumer items and deconstructs the mechanisms of their siren call. This retrospective, which extends throughout the museum and its outdoor sculpture court, features nearly 120 works from his most famous and/or infamous series, including “The-New,” “Luxury and Degradation,” “Banality,” “Made in Heaven,” and “Celebration.” A true child of the advertising age, Koons is the consummate salesman, who will, as he says, “employ all possible tricks and do everything—really everything— to communicate and win the viewer over.”
Web site www.whitney.org

Jeff Koons, Metallic Venus.


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