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October 2015
Vol. 34 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.

HangarBicocca, Milan: Damián Ortega
Through November 8, 2015
Damian Ortega, Estratigrafia. Trained as a political cartoonist, Ortega uses ironic humor to undermine preconceived ideas about art while addressing questions of structure, social organization, environmentalism, post-industrialization, and urban development. His a cerbic sculptures, photographs, and action pieces, which often use commonplace objects, regard the utopian forms of Modernism with a skeptical eye and make their own irreverent suggestions for change. The works in this show truly make a “Casino”— Italian for a cluster-fuck of a scene—exploding the myth of a unified, static whole, whether dwellings, bodies, societies, or economies. Subjected to fragmentation and spatial dispersion, reshaped and rethought everyday objects dissolve into dynamic new configurations that undermine any notion of coherent progress and reinforce the perpetual uncertainty and flux of life.

Web site www.hangarbicocca.org


Damián Ortega, Estratigrafía.
Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, U.K: Paul Neagu
Through November 8, 2015
Paul Neagu, Object Tactile Neagu (1938–2004) demanded that sculpture engage all five senses—sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste. Taking his Palpable Art Manifesto (1969) as a guide, this exhibition of 120 works—many on view for the first time—encompasses everything from tactile boxes and edible sculptures to performances and fictional collaborators. Though Neagu is not a household name, his influence cannot be overestimated. After leaving communist Romania for the U.K., he began teaching in 1973, first at Hornsey School of Art and then at the Royal College of Art. His studio was inspirational, fired by a constant testing of ideas that shaped some of Britain’s most important sculptors, including Tony Cragg, Richard Deacon, Antony Gormley, Anish Kapoor, and Rachel Whiteread. From the first tactile boxes—portable, “strange mixed-media objects” related to the human body and meant to be handled—through the complex philosophical explorations of the Nine Catalytic Stations (1986), Neagu used art to defy “degenerate, degraded, and obsolete” cultural conventions, offering instead “a new joy for the ‘blind,’” and “the most thoroughly three-dimensional study [for] the ‘clear-sighted.’”

Web site www.henry-moore.ac.uk

Paul Neagu, Object Tactile.

MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Lina Viste Grønli
Through October 25, 2015
Lina Viste Gronli, Coca Cola in Chinese Cup On the Genealogy of Morality Through sculpture, photography, collage, and text, Viste Grønli investigates the tensions between physical things and abstract systems, particularly language and philosophy. Using everyday objects and materials, she considers historically opposed binaries—the intelligible and the sensible, words and things, the systematic and the arbitrary—and interprets their uncontained fallouts. Here, she takes the most common of vowels as a visual starting point, thereby reversing the process behind two experimental novels (one American, the other French) that exclude all words with the letter E. A number of works transform ordinary pieces of furniture into the visual shape of an E. Others play more obscure structural games, and even the titles come together in an “E-Poem” that conjoins Entropy, Eggplant, Ebola, Effrontery, and English. These apparently ordered Es, however, come paired with random assemblies of mussel shells, kitchen utensils, and apples. Arbitrary juxtapositions generated through “thinging,” a method indebted to Heidegger’s transformation of a thing into an action, Viste Grønli’s sculptures manifest the material and linguistic acts that bring them into being.

Web site www.web.mit.edu/lvac

Lina Viste Grønli, Coca Cola in Chinese Cup On the Genealogy of Morality.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: Pierre Huyghe
Through November 1, 2015
Pierre Huyghe, detail of Roof Garden Commission, Metropolitan Museum of Art An adventurer in the no-man’s land between fiction and reality, memory and history, Huyghe has spent 25 years challenging conventional modes of thinking and existing. His drawings, sculptures, installations, photographs, films, and performances depend on experimentation as a creative tool, a means to metabolize expected situations into magical journeys of discovery that offer more than illusion. Weaving dreams and collective mythology into the web of the ordinary changes everything: as the fantastic blends with the organic, the natural ecosystem starts to draw nourishment from imagination, and anything becomes possible. Here, Huyghe treats the Met’s Roof Garden as a stratified landscape, excavating down through its surface as if it were an archaeological site forced to reveal its treasures—both cultural (objects sourced from the collection) and geological. Within this mutating matrix, elements “flow into contingent, biological, mineral, and physical reality.” As Huyghe says, “It’s not a matter of showing something to someone so much as showing someone to something.”

Web site www.metmuseum.org

Pierre Huyghe, detail of Roof Garden Commission, Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Moderna Museet, Stockholm: Adrián Villar Rojas
Through October 25, 2015
Adrian Villar Rojas, The theaters of Saturn (detail) Best known for site-specific, often monumental works in unfired clay, integrated with moss and fruit, sneakers, cutlery, and tablet computers, Villar Rojas describes his practice as organic. He builds worlds we have never seen, places we have never been. An idea, channeled via discussions and collaborators, grows into a piece, an exhibition, an inclusive performance. Everything is part of the work, from concept and experiment to production and final deterioration—all of it set in motion by time, which acts as catalyst and director, staging a drama that moves inevitably toward a radical ending. “Fantasma,” or “ghost,” embraces another of Villar Rojas’s obsessions—disappearance. In this surreal environment, sealed chambers containing a collection of rare objects in metamorphosis give way to blind alleys, both spatial and ideological. An exploration of memory, each object becomes a recording device that holds the experience of its making, the “remains of art,” as Villar Rojas says, “not the ruins of the future.”

Web site www.modernamuseet.se


Adrián Villar Rojas, The theaters of Saturn (detail).
Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego: Anya Gallaccio
Through November 1, 2015
Anya Gallaccio, rhymes of goodbye In Gallaccio’s installations, perishable materials—everything from fruit, flowers, and trees to ice, chocolate, and molten sugar—double as surrogates for human beings and our creations, enacting an inevitable journey of change and decay, despite aspirations to durability and timelessness. For this exhibition, Gallaccio, together with students from the visual arts department of UC San Diego, dug deeper into temporal contradiction and built a 3D printer for clay. Conjoining the primal and the futuristic, their digital simulacrum of Devils Tower (the iconic site of the alien landing in Close Encounters of the Third Kind) substitutes instantaneity for the slow build of geological time. In this bastard child of the profane and the sacred, printed/extruded coils of wet clay define the limits of artistic intent, of materials, and of technological prowess—a mood of resignation and melancholy only reinforced, not alleviated, by aesthetic beauty.  

Web site www.mcasd.org


Anya Gallaccio, rhymes of goodbye.
Storm King, Mountainville, New York: Lynda Benglis
Through November 8, 2015
Lynda Benglis, Hills and Clouds Benglis may be forever associated with her controversial 1974 “dildo” ad in Artforum, but her work extends far beyond dead-on mockeries of sexual prejudice. A pioneer in video and documentary, her interest in process has led her to expand the possibilities of material and form, from poured latex to fallen paintings, from pleated gold to anthropomorphized polyurethane and aluminum. Taking the body and the natural landscape as prime references, she creates works that ooze immediacy and physicality. “Water Sources” features a dozen new and recent outdoor works (many of them doubling as fountains), including the glow-in-the dark Hills and Clouds, as well as a selection of stone and bronze sculptures made in the early ’90s, soon after Benglis moved to the Southwest. Combining flux and solidity, the mundane and the otherworldly, these works challenge assumed precepts—Modernist, Minimalist, or post-Minimalist—by fusing content and form into evocative “frozen gestures.”

Web site www.stormkingartcenter.org

Lynda Benglis, Hills and Clouds.
Strawberry Hill, Twickenham, U.K: Laura Ford
Through November 6, 2015
Laura Ford, Armour Boys Ford, who represented Wales in the 2005 Venice Biennale, creates highly inventive human and animal forms using a variety of unusual materials and found objects. Full of humor and awkward warmth, these creatures initially charm, but they carry more than a whiff of discomfiting carny aberration. Donkey-headed children, costumed and twisted animals, fallen boy knights, and weeping girls hiding behind curtains of hair perform as circus freaks, displaying their exotic and repulsive deformities as poignant reminders of human frailties and societal inequities. At Strawberry Hill, this fairground remix, with its potent combination of macabre Surrealist bricolage and fractured fabulism à la Cocteau and Lynch, has found the perfect setting to stage its not-so-innocent fairy tale. Haunting Horace Walpole’s moody Gothic revival castle and its grounds, Ford’s characters enact a fragmented romance for the contemporary world, one based on an uncertain, and often menacing, vision of life.

Web site www.strawberryhillhouse.org.uk

Laura Ford, Armour Boys.
Tate Britain, London: Christina Mackie
Through October 18, 2015
Christina Mackie, The Filters Best known for installations that unite the natural, the manmade, and the crafted in a state of temporary synthesis, Mackie describes her works as “emotional landscapes.” Her new, three-part intervention in the Duveen Galleries continues her exploration of color and perception, with 12-meter-high silk nets suspended above pans of semi-crystallized dye, a freestanding sculpture, and a plinth displaying chunks of raw glass. Set within a space of classical solidity, these seemingly haphazard elements introduce an ethereal, yet anarchic and raw sensibility that redefines permanence as continuous flux.

Web site www.tate.org.uk

Christina Mackie, The Filters.
Yorkshire Sculpture Park/The Hepworth Wakefield, Wakefield, U.K: Anthony Caro
Through November 1, 2015
Anthony Caro, Terminus “If you want to see great sculpture,” follow the advice of The Telegraph, and “go to Yorkshire.” Larger and more comprehensive than the 2005 Tate Britain show, the two-venue retrospective “Caro in Yorkshire” features 80 works, spanning 60 years, from early figurative sketches on paper to large-scale outdoor works. While both portions highlight Caro’s major formal concerns, including spatial engagement, human figure/landscape analogies, and the pursuit of lyrical harmony even in the most industrial of compositions, each one takes a different approach. In the late ’90s, Caro noted that “in this century, it was not the sculptors who revitalized sculpture—it was the painters…I believe now that sculpture and architecture may be similarly nourished by one another.” YSP takes the first part of the equation, examining the “shock” of Caro’s early painted steel works through the lens of painting, then following that influence through to its culmination in two of the Duccio Variations (2000) and a selection of Last Sculptures, realized in colored Perspex, crushed, painted, and rusted steel, and found objects. These works—particularly the Duccio Variations, which translate painted architecture back into three-dimensional form—make a transition to The Hepworth Wakefield portion of the show, where exchanges between sculpture and architecture, combined into “sculptitecture,” take center stage in works that explore scale and architectural features, including more Last Sculptures, as well as collaborative projects like the Millennium Bridge with Norman Foster. And if this isn’t enough Caro, the National Gallery in London has installed Duccio Variations No. 3 in dialogue with the Annunciation that inspired it (through November 8).

Web site www.ysp.co.uk / www.hepworthwakefield.org

Anthony Caro, Terminus.

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