International Sculpture Center

   
September 2013
Vol. 32 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.

21er Haus, Vienna: Gelitin
Through September 29, 2013
Tobias Urban, Wolfgang Gantner, Florian Reither, and Ali Janka—aka Gelitin (est. 1993)—met in 1978 at summer camp; they’ve been playing together ever since. Self-styled provocateurs, they instigate performances, installations, and other works with no perceptible trajectory other than whim: naughty humor, childish naiveté, and fun as its own reward seem to be their driving motivations (though they started with an environmental agenda). In Hole, they continue to thumb their noses at the adult art world (as in the mischievous Some Like It Hot! at the 2011 Venice Biennale, which used the molten waste of a misfired kiln to mock the sacred emissions of creativity). Left alone in 21er Haus with a towering cube of solid material, Gelitin and their friends spent six days tearing away at pristine perfection, eating into the mass and mining raw sculptural chunks. Finally, the hollows themselves—turned into molds—birthed a group of anti-sculptures conceived from lost form, invisible interiority, and emptiness.
Web site www.21erhaus.at

Gelitin, Hole.
Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland: Damián Ortega
Through September 29, 2013
Trained as a political cartoonist, Ortega uses ironic humor to undermine preconceived ideas about art while addressing questions of social organization, environmentalism, post-industrialization, and urban development. His acerbic sculptures, photo­- ­graphs, 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 exhibition—all exploring the tools of civilization—explode the myth of the unified, static whole—whether a dwelling, a body, a society, or an economy. Subjected to fragmentation and spatial dispersion, these 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 http://www.clevelandart.org


Damián Ortega, Tool bones I.
deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, Massachusetts: WORK OUT
Through October 6, 2013
deCordova kicks off its new outdoor exhibition program with four projects that envision alternative and sustainable engagements with the landscape. Futurefarmers, Fritz Haeg, Jane D. Marsching, and Andi Sutton use the environs of the sculpture park as their primary material, asking us to rethink how we relate to our immediate and global environments. From a tree-based, interactive classroom and a garden mapping the routes that bring wild resources into domestic use to a field station for citizen scientists and a flock of seed-sowing “fake” pink flamingoes, their projects push the boundaries of what art can be while spreading a message of social and environmental change.
Web site www.decordova.org

Futurefarmers, Reverse Ark, from “WORK OUT.”
Dia Art Foundation, New York:
Thomas Hirschhorn
Through September 15, 2013
Though Hirschhorn denies that he is a political artist or social worker, his use of everyday, humble materials makes a clear statement, as do his choices of art-inhospitable “non-sites” and non-art-world collaborators. For him, art is a “tool for getting to know the world and encountering reality.” It is also a vehicle for transformation, as the fourth and final of his “monuments” dedicated to major thinkers makes clear. Realized in cooperation with the residents of Forest Houses in the South Bronx, Gramsci Monument brings the Italian’s particular brand of Marxism to life, harnessing an “infinitude of thought” that can come from anywhere and move in any direction. The most ambitious of Hirschhorn’s community-based and -built pavilions, Gramsci Monument includes an exhibition space, an archive and library, a theater platform, and a host of other arenas designed to spark exchange. This genuinely public (and ideally egalitarian) space serves as a base for lectures, radio programs, a daily newspaper, seminars, poetry and art workshops, open mic programs, and field trips. To fully inhabit his platform of “co-existence,” Hirschhorn is living in the South Bronx for the duration of the project.
Web site www.diaart.org; www.gramsci-monument.com


Thomas Hirschhorn, Gramsci Monument preparatory drawing.
Emscherkunst.2013, Ruhr, Germany
Through October 6, 2013
Following the course of the Emscher River through the Ruhr valley, the second installment of Emscherkunst covers 47 square kilometers between the cities of Duisberg, Dinslaken, Oberhausen, Essen, Bottrop, and Gel­senkirchen. Part of a comprehensive reclamation project to transform the waterway from open sewer into healthy river and the surrounding area into a public park (by 2020), the triennial focuses on site-specific, environmentally savvy projects installed in neglected settings: fallow wastelands, abandoned industrial facilities, and the no-man’s land between the Emscher and the Rhine-Herne canal. Works by 28 artists and teams—including Mark Dion, Jeppe Hein, Inges Idee, Marjetica Potrc?, and Tobias Rehberger—connect participation and awareness in an equation that results in change—a link played out in Ai Weiwei’s Out of Enlightenment: visitors may book one of his 1,000 unique tents, coming together in spontaneous networks of relationships that conjoin people and landscape.
Web site http://www.emscherkunst.de


Ai Weiwei, Out of Enlightenment, from Emscherkunst.
Fondation Beyeler, Basel: Maurizio Cattelan
Through October 6, 2013
Cattelan practices a varied, at times unnerving, but always imaginative and witty kind of art. Meteor-stricken popes, hanging children, suicidal squirrels, tricycle-riding alter-egos, and sneering donkeys are just some of the star players in his theater of the absurd. In this personal eulogy of folly, nothing is sacred, authority exists to be flouted, and insubordination is a god-given right. Clever and mocking, his controversial sculptures explore the space between what he calls softness and perversity, waging a sarcastic assault on every conceivable kind of power structure and institution. Like their Dada and Surrealist predecessors, Cattelan’s uncanny juxtapositions uproot presumed understandings of the world. For him, even the banal is absurd. “Kaputt,” his first show since retiring in 2011, consists of previous works reconfigured in an unorthodox, site-specific installation that once again proves the maxim that drives this self-described “good liar”: “reality is far more provocative than my art.”
Tel: + 41 (0) 61 645 97 00
Web site www.fondationbeyeler.ch

Maurizio Cattelan, L.O.V.E.
Fondation Cartier, Paris: Ron Mueck
Through September 29, 2013
Mueck’s figures are so life-like that we expect them to begin breathing. Veins, wrinkles, sagging flesh, moles, body hair, and rashes: every detail has been crafted to such perfection that the remarkably convincing results border on troubling. Mueck, who began his career making marionettes, does not strive to reproduce reality; imitation and illusion become doors to the uncanny rather than tools of the familiar. As unsettling as his figures may be in their hyper-realism and altered scale (from the gargantuan to the minute), they still inspire a strong emotional response. The shock of the first glance is gradually replaced by the dynamics of sympathy and identification. This show features three new pairs of figures that capture and transform intimate moments of ordinary interaction.
Web site www.fondation.cartier.com


Ron Mueck, Woman with Sticks in the artist’s studio.
Fondazione Cini, Island of San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice: Marc Quinn
Through September 29, 2013
From a self-portrait head rendered in his own blood to portraits of his infant sons crafted from their frozen placentas and umbilical chords, to white marble portraits of amputees, Quinn’s work never fails to spark contention. But behind the notoriety lies a serious investigation into the body’s physical presence and mutability. Mortality, beauty, kinship, and the interplay of science and art all come into play in his trenchant sculptures. This show traces what Quinn calls “a journey from the origins of life” through more than 50 works that “celebrate the awe and wonder of the world.” Placed in the fragile ecosystem of the Venice lagoon, the uncanny hybrids of Evolution and The Archaeology of Art conjure the mysteries of life while positing art as an intrinsic part of nature. Their perfectly pitched partnership with the surrounding environs—illustrating how fertile exchanges arise along permeable borderlands of sea and shore, life and death, order and chaos, and nature and culture—stands in sharp contrast to the jarring vision of Breath, a gargantuan inflatable that reinterprets Alison Lapper Pregnant in purple polyester.
Web site www.cini.it


Marc Quinn, Breath.
Haus der Kunst, Munich: Ivan Kožaric?
Through September 22, 2013

Though Kožaric? is among Croatia’s most significant contemporary artists, this survey, covering a complex career that has spanned more than 50 years, marks his first in-depth, international exhibition. A central figure in the former Yugo­slavia’s postwar avant-garde and a member of the Gorgona group (1959– 66), whose anti-art stance placed attitude above form, Kožaric? became known for his sense of simplicity, as well as his political directness. His works, which play on the boundaries of traditional art forms, challenge distinctions between figurative and abstract, solid and void, and reject the necessity of all determining factors, including notions of completion and chronology. Skeptical of rules and hierarchies, Kožaric? affirms freedom. Daring to negate the immutability of art (including his own), he has set an influential example of transgressive play for both his own and younger generations of artists.
Web site www.hausderkunst.de

Ivan Kožaric?, Reaction.

Haus der Kunst, Munich: Joëlle Tuerlinckx
Through September 29, 2013
Tuerlinckx collects the arbitrary. Whether she’s working in film, sculpture, public projects, or print, she makes visible a personal and aesthetic territory drawn from the overlooked, the ubiquitous, and the impersonal. Here, she explores the written word and its means of classification through various presentation devices—the archival, the encyclopedic, and the historical. From newspaper clippings and stacked cans to slide sleeves and overhead projections, associative experiences accumulate into space-filling trajectories, multiplying originals and effacing the clues and bearings that make them recognizable. In the gaps that separate looking, perceiving, and naming, she discovers a wealth of possible experiences. “World (k) in Progress?,” one of a trio of related exhibitions, traces her ongoing exploration of worldliness and language through new pieces and the reactivation of earlier works.
Web site www.hausderkunst.de


Joëlle Tuerlinckx, Vitrine (detail).
Kunsthaus Bregenz, Bregenz, Austria:
Gabriel Orozco
Through October 6, 2013
Orozco creates sculptures, installations, photographs, and paintings from everyday objects and situations, twisting conventional notions of reality by inserting the ordinary into unexpected contexts. From one project to the next, he deliberately blurs the boundaries between art object and prosaic environment, sit­uating his contributions in a hybrid place ruled by imagination and political commitment. The new works in this show replace the improvisational and conceptual strategies for which he is best known with a more classical approach to sculpture. Though firmly rooted in Modernism, carefully crafted stone forms take on additional resonance in the company of “primitive” terra-cotta artifacts and a dramatic, 15-meter-long reconstruction of a whale skeleton inscribed with complex geometrical patterns. Past and present, handmade and readymade, and nature and culture come into balance in these deceptively simple creations that convey the paradoxical nature of the art object as ritual conduit, vehicle of personal expression, and coveted possession.
Web site www.kunsthaus-bregenz.at

Gabriel Orozco, Untitled.
Lismore Castle Arts, Lismore Castle, Co. Waterford, Ireland: Monuments
Through September 30, 2013
This show argues that monuments and memorials remain valid expressions of collectivity—though it sidesteps the question of just what form they might take in our fractured, cynical present, when timeless values are suspect, when even the most unified community lacks a shared narrative and coherent visual language. Contemporary monuments (at least for now) can only rise out of this ontological morass as anti-monuments. Temporary or permanent, independent or commissioned, these projects either excel at deconstructing old values (possibly salvaging something from the ruins) or retreat into a muzzled neutrality that barely manages to make any statement at all (or gets the emphasis wrong). The five artists featured here—Pablo Bronstein, Iman Issa, Aleksandra Mir, Yorgos Sapountzis, and Danh Vo—take the first, and certainly more compelling, approach. Their reflections on permanence, power, and human vanity find heightened irony against the rich backdrop of Lismore Castle and its grounds.
Web site www.lismorecastlearts.ie

Pablo Bronstein, Pavilion, from “Monuments.”

Museo National Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid: Cildo Meireles
Through September 29, 2013
For more than 40 years, Meireles has created objects and dramatic, multi-sensory installations that explore the real, the symbolic, and the imaginary. Working with mundane materials such as money, bones, chalk, and rulers, accumulated and arranged into unexpected forms, he creates seductive works whose conceptual underpinnings range from philosophical and pol­­­itical concerns to explorations of perception, time, and space. This retrospective of more than 100 pieces revolves around four major installations that approach history as a narrative of territorial struggle and colonial domination, including the first-ever realization of Amerikkka. A blank nothingness held between a floor of 20,000 wooden eggs and a dropped ceiling of 76,000 bullets, this condemnation of NRA-endorsed violence, like all of Meireles’s work, engages the senses, provokes the mind, and rattles the conscience.
Web site www.museoreinasofia.es

Cildo Meireles, Amerikkka.

Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago:
Theaster Gates
Through October 6, 2013
Gates, whose practice embraces performance, installation, and urban interventions, has devoted his career to the architectural and social rejuvenation of his South Chicago neighborhood. The campaign began in 2006, when he adopted an abandoned house on S. Dorchester Avenue as his home and studio, fixing it up with recycled and repurposed materials. His efforts, reinforced by a team of local collaborators, then expanded to other nearby buildings, reinvented as alternative cultural spaces and aesthetic expressions. Last year, the reverberations of this DIY social project reached Kassel, where raw materials from 6901 S. Dorchester facilitated the partial res­­toration of the city’s historic Huguenot House. More than simple rehabs, Gates’s complex projects resonate with lived process and poetic exchange, symbolically mending one neglected cultural history with another. His new installation, 13th Ballad, brings Kassel back to Chicago and further deepens the allusions, touching issues of religious belief, persecution, and tolerance by drawing together Muslim and Protestant outsiders across time and space.
Web site www.mcachicago.org

Theaster Gates, 13th Ballad (detail).

Savannah College of Art and Design, Museum
of Art, Savannah: Ursula von Rydingsvard
Through September 22, 2013
von Rydingsvard is best known for large-scale, often monumental, cedar-beam sculptures—complex, textured constructions that she painstakingly cuts, assembles, glues, clamps, laminates, and finally finishes with rubbed graphite. Though abstract, her signature forms reference simple objects, from vessels and bowls to familiar household items and traditional tools, to human bodies and the natural world. Imbued with great psychological force and powerful physical presence, these reinterpreted artifacts convey a primal dignity akin to the grandeur of time-weathered land formations. This exhibition features a selection of wall and floor pieces imbued with a sense of history and emotional resonance.
Web site www.scadmoa.org

Ursula von Rydingsvard, Ocean Voices.

Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main: Piero Manzoni
Through September 22, 2013
Despite his short career, Manzoni (1933–63) set the course of the postwar avant-garde not only in Italy, but around the world. His ironic works, created in everything from rabbit fur to excrement, anticipated (and influenced) Arte Povera, while his revisionist overhaul of the readymade prefigured conceptual art, calling into question the status of the art object and prompting a still-valid critique of mass production and consumer culture. Against the emptiness of modern life and its easily satirized fabrications, he posited another kind of visual expression, one that could “tap mythological sources and realize authentic and universal values.” For him, the conduit could be located nowhere else but in the natural and the uniquely personal—his own bodily products and features (blood, breath, and shit of the artist). Manifestoes in the guise of parodies, these limited edition sculptures and prints fueled other experiments, including pedestals for “living statues” and solar energy investigations with the Zero group. “When Bodies Became Art” highlights the radical character of Manzoni’s project with more than 100 works that have shaped our notions of art and the everyday world.
Web site www.staedelmuseum.de

Piero Manzoni, Base of the world.

University Art Museum, State University of New York, Albany: Michelle Segre
Through September 14, 2013
For more than 20 years, New York-based Segre has produced idiosyncratic sculptures and drawings that elude easy categorization. In the ’90s, her meticulous wax enlargements of fungi and richly imagined ink drawings of fissured landscapes suggested something biological, yet unfamiliar. In a recent turn toward gestural abstraction, freestanding assemblages using reworked armatures and recycled materials from older works combine with rocks, milk crates, papier-mâché, colored yarn, and plaster. Underlying it all is an improvisational goofiness matched by a well-versed formal rigor based in Surrealism, Arte Povera, and Process Art. “Antecedents of the Astral Hamster,” which features new sculptures alongside earlier works, offers the fullest reading yet of Segre’s formal experimentation and her intuitive, highly personal approach to materials.
Web site www.albany.edu/museum

Michelle Segre, Three Hanging Forms.

Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver: MadeIn Company
Through September 29, 2013
MadeIn Company, a Shanghai- and Beijing-based artist collective, poses as a contemporary art corporation specializing in the production of creativity. Employing up to 30 artists on a single project, the group also curates exhibitions and supports various art projects, including the on-line forum Art Ba-Ba. Its newest work, Calm (installed at the museum’s outdoor exhibition space on West Georgia at Thurlow Street), uses mistaken assumptions to lure passersby into a reconsideration of perceptual certainties. What appears to be nothing more than a pile of construction debris slowly begins to move, as though the ruins have not yet settled. Though Calm seems to imply the stillness that follows disaster, it also embodies a threat of imminent danger—the calm before the storm. The ambiguity offers a reminder that truth is not always what it seems.
Web site www.vanartgallery.bc.ca

MadeIn Company, Calm.


Complete text in print version available at fine newsstands and through subscription. Please visit our Membership page for more information.

Click here for Sculpture magazine ARCHIVES
To advertise in Sculpture magazine, call 718.812.8826 or e-mail advertising@sculpture.org.



Get a digital subscription
to Sculpture for just $25.
Click here
to sign up.