Post-surrealist and proto-feminist, Polish artist Alina Szapocznikow’s art tested sculpture’s capacity to evoke the modern human condition. A survivor of internment in Auschwitz and Theresienstadt, the artist was a pioneer in her experimentation with plastic materials like polyester resin and polyurethane, and assembled unstable casts of disembodied breasts, mouths, bellies and phalluses into impossible anatomical configurations.
In the notorious, 1974 Artforum magazine spread, Lynda Bengalis angles her oiled naked body toward the camera, and places one hand on her hip, as the other hand brandishes a flesh-colored, double-headed dildo between her legs. A derisory commentary by an alpha-female of the art world on the snarled relationships between critical interest and controversy, art world machismo and erotic self-promotion, creative production and commerce.
“If she’d only been a guy, it would have been less intimidating.”
A swelling torrent of gray cast-aluminum spills from an unknown source rendering Lynda Benglis’s biomorphic sculptures dynamic as soft becomes hard, hard appears soft, and all movement is suspended in space. Deeply concerned with the physicality of forms and their visceral impact upon the viewer, the artist’s sculptures fuse mass and surface into erotically charged couplings.
In a baroque orgy of overlapping figures, detached limbs, decaying plaster hands, deteriorating mouths, fossilized intestines and crystalline sinew, David Altmejd’s sculpture, The Healers, is an alluring spectacle of the beautiful and the monstrous locked in a writhing embrace.
“When I’m building a sculpture, I like to make myself laugh. I like to kind of make myself nervous at the idea that someone would be shocked, or you know, I become shy in my own studio, just thinking, ‘Oh, I’m putting testicles on the face of a birdman!’ It makes me shy and that makes me feel like what I’m doing really exists, like’s it’s real.”
Artist-philosopher Lee Ufan’s precise conceptual and spatial juxtapositions produce a spacious network of relationships, between organic and industrial materials & human beings and nature. His “living structures” are punctuated by emptiness to isolate the experience of the object encounter, and to compel viewers to register the subtle grandeur of “the world as it is.”
“Poetry is made with a hammer.” Vladimir Mayakovsky
Fields of hammered nails form undulating organic patterns in Günther Uecker’s bristling sculptures. The nails are ritually hammered into patterned relationships, eliciting a sensation of vibration and dematerializing as light articulates across them.
Roberto Almangno’s abstract wood sculptures evoke the sheer power of line to draw the viewer into the oscillating organic forms.