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Sculpture cover


September 2015
Vol. 34 No. 7

A publication of the
International Sculpture Center
Paris: David Altmejd - Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris
by Ann Albritton
Untitled, 2011. David Altmejd’s first major exhibition in France was stunning in scope. His strange and exotic forms offer myriad opportunities for viewer interaction, though the mirrors that were so prominent in his installation at the Canadian Pavilion (2007 Venice Bien­nale) seemed not as evident here. The mirrors that did appear were arranged in unusual configurations, as in University 1, which references Sol LeWitt’s cognitive, geometric sculptures. Mirrored, the work reflects one part onto the other. Altmejd also compares University 1 to Rauschen­berg’s Erased De Kooning Drawing. Sarah Altmejd, named after the artist’s sister—a work that he calls a self-portrait, a Siamese twin, or a combination of his mother and father—is very beautiful, mainly because of its flowing hair. At the same time, the head is disturbing: there is no face, only a gouged-out black hole surrounded by black crystals. Altmejd’s signature juxtaposition of the beautiful and the grotesque began here. Further into the exhibition, what appeared to be the figure of a slim, elegantly dressed man, when seen from a distance and from behind, morphed into a white-headed birdman that still remained disturbingly real (Man 2). As I toured the exhibition with curator François Michaud, we discussed Altmejd’s male giants: some hairy, others with coconut heads, hands, and ears, many bearing imprints of the artist’s fingers scraping through the plaster. ...see the entire review in the print version of September's Sculpture magazine.

David Altmejd, Untitled, 2011.
Washington, DC: Dane Winkler - Hamiltonian Gallery
by Laura Roulet
Setting Sail: Gettin' Outta Dodge, 2015. Growing up as the fifth of six children on a working farm in upstate New York is not often the springboard to an artistic vocation. In Dane Winkler’s case, his rural childhood is a constant wellspring of inspiration. “Chassis,” the sculptural half of two solo exhibitions at Hamiltonian Gallery, where Winkler is a Fellow, combined two large-scale sculptures with boyhood dreams. Along with growing vegetables and animal husbandry, Winkler learned how to build. His sculptural work represents re-skilling instead of de-skilling. His materials are often reclaimed and very personal, such as the bundles of raw wool used in the construction of A-L-I-C-E. This 600-pound, steel crane structure contains a motor that periodically causes the suspended wool to rotate, fanning out into space. The wool is sourced from sheep on the family farm, and the work is named for a favorite cow, the first Winkler saw slaughtered as a child. He doesn’t recall this as a traumatic incident, but as the beginning of his understanding that death is part of the natural course of life. The height and heft of the wool, combined with the kinetics of the sculpture, give the uncanny effect of an actual animal presence. Setting Sail: Gettin’ Outta Dodge, a simply designed, fastidiously crafted, operational boat, was accompanied by a video showing Winkler’s construction methods, which involve a refreshing lack of technology and industrial fabrication. ...see the entire review in the print version of September's Sculpture magazine.

Dane Winkler, Setting Sail: Gettin' Outta Dodge, 2015
North Adams, Massachusetts: Susannah Sayler and Edward Morris - MASS MoCA
by William Fox
Rendering of Eclipse, 2014. In the 18th century, the world’s most common bird may have been Ectopistes migratorius, the passenger pigeon. Estimated at three to five billion in number, these birds made up a quarter of the total avian population in North America when the first European settlers arrived. Faced with a steep decline in their habitat as the countryside was colonized, and then hunted in mass culls to fill the appetite of a growing country, the last passenger pigeon died in captivity in 1914. By the mid-20th century, the bird had come to symbolize the extremes of environmental depredation. To mark the centennial of the extinction of the passenger pigeon, Susannah Sayler and Edward Morris collaborated with writer Elizabeth Kolbert to create Eclipse. Eclipse—titled after Audubon’s comparison between the darkened skies caused by a flock passing overhead and a solar eclipse—projects a video loop of seemingly innumerable pigeons in reverse-negative silhouette. ...see the entire review in the print version of September's Sculpture magazine.

Sayler/Morris, Rendering of Eclipse, 2014.
Santa Fe, New Mexico: Jane Lackey - Center for Contemporary Art
by Geraldine Craig
Enveloping Space: Walk, Trace, Think, 2014. Before we learned to write, we learned to speak. Before it was a language recognized by our tribe, it was sound. Our cries of pleasure and pain were connected to what we experienced in our bodies, and as we quickly learned, those sounds could elicit attention and care. As we began to move through space our perceptions grew, living in a membrane of sensory discovery that enveloped input from eyes, hands, ears, and skin. Before our experiences had language, they were felt space. Jane Lackey returns us to the epiphanies of felt space and the impulse to bridge experience with language. Her recent site-specific installation, Enveloping Space: Walk, Trace, Think, established a liminal entrance space through 500 weighted, hanging cords. Visually suggestive of a stringed piano board, moving gently with currents of air, these cords slowed the viewer to a pace appropriate to attentive detail and refined material messaging. The wooden weights clicked softly against each other as they referenced the material structure of the space, echoing a timber grid set into the poured concrete floor. ...see the entire review in the print version of September's Sculpture magazine.

Jane Lackey, Enveloping Space: Walk, Trace, Think, 2014.
New York: Enrico David - Michael Werner Gallery
by Jonathan Goodman
Tools and Toys III, 2014. Idiosyncrasy in contemporary sculpture has a way of communicating pleasure and humor, and Enrico David’s recent show did exactly that. His works play with the figure but also maintain a genuine sculptural intelligence that supports his offbeat themes. We know figurative sculpture is one of the West’s oldest visual traditions, so that it is no longer easy to find openings for new visions within its established legacy. But David’s work, with its bodies sculpted on top of each other so that they repetitively construct three-dimensional forms, pushes forward despite—or because of—its engaging eccentricity. This work presents itself, then, as an independent way of seeing, to the point where the odd forms can claim new insight. Although David often risks his enterprise by approaching caricature, we can recognize his quirkiness as something we have not yet experienced. David mostly creates drawings and tabletop-size sculptures. Tools and Toys III (2014), one of the most striking sculptures, consists of a figure-like shape with four extended limbs but no head. A halo of thin metallic wires extending from the body likely represents an aura. One of the upward-rising limbs is distinctly phallic, eroticizing a form that seems otherwise spiritually inclined. ...see the entire review in the print version of September's Sculpture magazine.

Enrico David, Tools and Toys III, 2014.
New York: Ted Victoria - Robert Miller Gallery
by Joyce Beckenstein
 Lightbulbs, Male and Female, 2015. Ted Victoria continues to baffle and enlighten viewers with works that explore relationships between actual objects and their photographic representations. Iconic sea monkeys, aswim in projection boxes, along with banal objects sequestered within enigmatic camera obscura constructions, still prevail. But Vic­toria now gives greater stage presence to his process, incorporating it as an integral component of his photography-as-sculpture. The results have us experiencing his works through the double lens of optical science and visual perception, their outcomes amplifying the disconnects between reality and illusion. ...see the entire review in the print version of September's Sculpture magazine.

Ted Victoria, Lightbulbs, Male and Female, 2015.
New York “Rite of Passage: The Early Years of Vienna Actionism, 1960–1966” Hauser & Wirth
by Robert C. Morgan
12th action, 1965. “Rite of Passage: The Early Years of Vienna Actionism, 1960–1966,” curated by Hubert Klocker, was the first show to present the early years of the Vienna Actionists to a New York audience. Klocker and his academic associate, Gloria Sutton, carefully outlined the importance of these artists—including Hermann Nitsch, Otto Muehl, Günter Brus, and Rudolf Schwarzkogler—in two superbly delineated essays in the exhibition catalogue. Many of these actions, objects, and photographs are striking for the outlandish perspective they reveal, balanced between volition, naivety, endurance, and courage. In each case, they seem to move toward some ultimate veracity of art, testing the limits of how far the artist is willing to delve into primal, presumably unconscious desires. While one may question the intentions of the Actionists, one cannot deny the evidence: they have gone deeply into the body as the source of art. While the body may retain a certain representational value, it takes on an aura of ritualized expressionism, involving mutilation not simply as an illusion but as the subject of transformation, even transubstantiation in the case of Nitsch. ...see the entire review in the print version of September's Sculpture magazine.

Hermann Nitsch, 12th action, 1965.
Gatlinburg, Tennessee: “Figurative Association: The Human Form” - Arrowmont School of Arts and Craft
by J. Richard Gruber
Straddle, 2013. The wooded campus of Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts is located in the heart of Gatlinburg, near the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Congested traffic and throngs of tourists are the norm outside the gates of Arrowmont, distinguishing its environment from the settings of other mountain craft schools such as Penland and the John C. Campbell School. Perhaps reflecting its location at the intersection between traditional and modern worlds, Arrowmont presented a complex and intriguing range of sculptors in its recent “Figurative Association” exhibition and symposium. Two groups of artists were featured in the show and throughout the four days of programs and demonstrations. Established “presenting” artists Robert Brady, Cristina Cordova, Thaddeus Erdahl, Dustin Farnsworth, Susan Hagen, Elizabeth Higgins O’Connor, Doug Jeck, Kris Kuksi, Bob Trotman, and Christine West each nominated one emerging artist. This group of “invited” artists included Dean Allison, Leslie Ansteth Colonna, Jacob Foran, Carmen Lang, Ashley Maxwell, Lori Norwood, Kyunmin Park, Kim Tucker, and Kumi Yamashita. ...see the entire review in the print version of September's Sculpture magazine.

Carmen Lang, Straddle, 2013.
Fort Worth, Texas: Jonathan Schipper - Fort Worth Contemporary Arts
by Charissa N. Terranova
Exploding Box (detail), 2015. Jonathan Schipper orchestrates technology and destruction in order to tease out subtleties of time and emotion that get lost in our otherwise singularly spectacular understanding of an explosive event. Most of us know blasts and car crashes as they are filtered through Hollywood films and the 24-hour news cycle. Cut, framed, and often over-edited, they are bits of moving-image footage that do not so much deracinate the violence of destruction, but package, distill, and ready it for quick consumption. Our brain-body perceptual apparatus swallows it up as served, without savoring any of the existential expressiveness that forms the reality of our relationship to entropic, dangerous, and dysfunctional technologies. ...see the entire review in the print version of September's Sculpture magazine.

Jonathan Schipper, Exploding Box (detail), 2015.
Berlin: Nairy Baghramian - Neuer Berlin Kunstverein (NBK)
by Adrian Duncan
Off The Rack (Handrail), 2014 Nairy Baghramian’s work is as much a discussion about sculptural form as it is about the language, use, and value of sculptural objects and the institutions that exhibit them for economic/cultural gain. This show featured an artist edition (a section of “handrail”) from 2012, a new re-working/reproduction of this edition into a one-off, site-specific installation, and a series of older, unique sculptures from 2011. By exhibiting the older works in new ways, the exhibition sought to generate new experiences in the body and new connections in the mind of the viewer in order to unsettle how we understand the terms “art edition,” “site-specific multiple,” and “original artwork series.” Off The Rack (Handrail) (2014) circumscribed a large ground-floor gallery. The handrail-like object was fitted along the walls of the space, between hip and shoulder level— not a familiar functional height. ...see the entire review in the print version of September's Sculpture magazine.

Nairy Baghramian, Off The Rack (Handrail), 2014.
London: William Tucker - Pangolin London
by Jonathan R. Jones
Secret, 2010. William Tucker’s monumental bronze sculptures are incredibly difficult to reproduce in photographs. Despite careful lighting and the judicious use of close-ups, most catalogues do not succeed in being more than an aide-mémoire. The camera struggles to do these works justice because of their scale and their intricate surfaces, which are, by turns, both craggy and sensuously undulating. It is only by encountering them in person that the viewer is able to conceive of them as anything more than “lumps.” Moving from viewing Tucker’s works in reproduction to experiencing them in the flesh is only the first stage of the viewer’s journey. ...see the entire review in the print version of September's Sculpture magazine.

William Tucker, Secret, 2010.

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