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Sculpture cover


October 2015
Vol. 34 No. 8

A publication of the
International Sculpture Center
London: Giorgio Andreotta Calò - Sprovieri
by Jonathan R. Jones
Clessidra (Hourglass), 2007-15. Eschewing John Ruskin’s famous 19th-century treatise The Stones of Venice, contemporary Italian artist Giorgio Andreotta Calò turns instead to the wood of Venice. With an interest in the literal foundations of the place, Calò has taken the massive wooden stakes that support the “floating city” as his sculptural starting point. In previous exhibitions of the same series—“La scultura lingua morta” (literally “dead language of sculpture”)—he presented these stakes as found objects—they apparently turn up on nearby beaches, rotted and dislodged. Yet here, he has also chosen to cast them in bronze like trees in a fossilized forest, meticulously re-creating the weathered surfaces of the wood. There is an intriguing pun on materials in play, as well as an investigation into the very nature of sculpture. The works highlight the two principal ways in which sculpture is made—removal or addition of matter—while also interrogating the idea of the readymade. Calò places casts on top of one another—creating a kind of mirroring that one might find in the reflective waters of a Venetian canal. Such an arrangement also mimics stalagmites touching stalactites, suggesting another natural process that marks time. The resulting hourglass silhouettes heighten an almost obsessive insistence on the passing of time and the idea of memorialization. ...see the entire review in the print version of October's Sculpture magazine.

Giorgio Andreotta Calò, Clessidra (Hourglass), 2007-15.
Miami: Antoni Tàpies - Perez Art Museum Miami
by Ann Albritton
Installation view of Tàpies: From within, 2015. “Tàpies: From Within,” the first major survey of Antoni Tàpies’s work since his death in 2012, featured 50 paintings, drawings, and three-dimensional pieces chosen from the artist’s own collection and from the Fundació Antoni Tàpies in Barcelona. The exhibition began with oil paintings from 1945, from the start of Tàpies’s career. Collage elements in Fils sobre cartó (Threads on Card­board) and Collage del papel de plata (Collage of Silver Paper), both from 1946, demonstrate his interest in building out or on flat canvas—a technique that would develop over time into a hallmark, particularly with the addition of dirt and stones. At times, the moody, dramatic canvases lining the walls had the effect of focusing attention on the select pieces of sculpture. Nus marró (1964), a brown knot, resembled a knotted, greasy rag that one might find discarded on the floor of an auto shop. Suspended in the air from a transparent line, it cast a mesmerizing shadow and felt quite austere among the richly colored paintings. ...see the entire review in the print version of October's Sculpture magazine.

Antoni Tàpies, Intallation view of "Tàpies: From Within," 2015
Chicago: Barbara Cooper - Perimeter Gallery
by Amy Haddad
Twine, 2014. In an age when creating the next new thing is pervasive, Barbara Cooper, a Chicago-based sculptor, offers a refreshing take on art, with nature as her starting point. Rather than compete with nature, she evoked its depths by using repurposed materials in her recent exhibition, “Repur­posing: Small Sculpture.” The results were striking. Cooper, who has worked with wood veneer since the late 1980s, “finds the world of nature to be one that creates a sense of awe…it provides a model of how to be in the world.” Her sculptures, with their repurposed materials, not only incorporate themes of growth and decay, development and transformation, they also echo those themes back to the viewer, underscoring how natural processes underpin human life. ...see the entire review in the print version of October's Sculpture magazine.

Barbara Cooper, Twine, 2014.
New York: Nicola L. - Elga Wimmer Gallery
by Jonathan Goodman
Atmosphere, 2015. Nicola L., a French-born, New York-based sculptor of considerable talent, who has won recognition over a period of decades, recently restaged “Atmosphere in White,” a comprehensive show of her work originally presented at the Liverpool Biennial in 2014. According to the artist, the exhibition title was chosen “because every single one of these objects is white, and this shared whiteness binds them together as a sort of dream-memory.” In the gallery, the different objects developed slightly haphazard relations with each other, playing off a wide variety of sculptural shapes—lamps with heads, a bookcase shaped like a head, a huge illuminated eye. One of the nicer aspects of the show was its lack of seriality; most often, the pieces were one of a kind, which allowed viewers to focus on individual motivations and formal implications. Some of the earliest works dated to the late 1960s, while the most recent piece was made in 2015 (Bea­tles Banner, consisting of a photo transfer on a vinyl banner). As one might guess of an artist who came of age in the ’60s, Nicola L.’s production is very much a Pop vision. ...see the entire review in the print version of October's Sculpture magazine.

Nicola L., Atmosphere, 2015.
Salt Lake City: Conrad Bakker - Utah Museum of Fine Art
by Alexandra Karl
Untitled Project: Robert Smithson Library and Book Club, 2014. Artists visiting the state of Utah typically make a pilgrimage to Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty (1970), but they rarely meet the artist head-on, on his own terms. Such was the case, though, with Conrad Bakker’s Robert Smithson Library and Book Club, installed as part of the Utah Museum of Fine Art’s annual “Salt” series. Featuring hundreds of faux paperback books, rendered to scale in wood and paint and stacked upright along shelves lining the wall, Bakker’s work engaged with Smith­son on a multitude of levels. Inspired by Smithson’s own book collection, Bakker’s selections bring up a range of associations. With titles on everything from philosophy to physics, magic to mining, they suggest not only the more cryptic corners of Smithson’s mind, but also the intellectual foundations of his Utah masterpiece, the mother of all land works. ...see the entire review in the print version of October's Sculpture magazine.

Conrad Bakker, Untitled Project: Robert Smithson Library and Book Club, 2014.
Berlin: Mariana Castillo Deball - Hamburger Bahnhof
by Adrian Duncan
Parergon, 2014-15. Parergon, an ambitious, operatic installation from Mexican artist Mariana Castillo Deball, explored the biographies of objects in various Ber­lin museums, particularly the Nationalgalerie. As the title, which means “supplementary work” or “by­­product,” suggests, the work examined and decrypted the history of these collections, their buildings, exhibits, and protagonists. Castillo Deball collected 20 different, and at first mysterious, objects—some specifically made for her installation, others on loan—choreographing their placement throughout the cavernous, railway-hall of the Ham­burger Bahnhof in such a way as to generate many frames of reference between them. ...see the entire review in the print version of October's Sculpture magazine.

Mariana Castillo Deball, Parergon, 2014-15.
New York: “Surround Audience,” New Museum Triennial 2015 - New Museum
by Susan Canning
Josh Kline, Freedom, 2015. Gatherings of artists into annuals, biennials, and the like have become so common and so global that they now function, like the equally ubiquitous art fairs, as art shopping malls whose main purpose is spotting the latest fashion or the next big trend. Not one to be left off the bandwagon, the New Museum’s triennial boasted that its “predictive” model would present “the future of culture through the art of today.” An ambitious goal perhaps, and one that “Surround Audience,” organized by New Museum curator Lauren Cornell and the artist Ryan Trecartin and thoughtfully installed over five floors, seemed hesitant to embrace. Less about art stars or even the future than about the troubled present, this inclusive, at times provocative, and truly international exhibi­­tion of 51 artists and collectives from 25 countries argued for an engaged younger generation who merge art, life, and politics into a symbiotic whole. ...see the entire review in the print version of October's Sculpture magazine.

Josh Kline, Freedom, 2015.

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