Przemek Pyszczek’s painted metal sculptures are open, expansive and candy-coloured. Yet they represent urban dead-ends. Pyszczek, a Polish-Canadian sculptor living in Berlin, replicates graphic decorations on Plattenbauen pre-fab architecture and jungle-gyms dotting housing projects in Poland. For his 2014 series Facades, he trapped paintings of cheerful coloured forms behind curved security bars. In his current Playground Structure series, currently on view at Berlin’s Peres Projects gallery alongside Donna Huanca’s paintings, networks of metal pipes invite escapist to play but promise danger. Here Pyszczek discusses the socio-political and personal context for his compellingly contradictory sculptures. Continue reading
Kristine Alksne turns ephemeral urban grit into durable, emotionally evocative, sculptures. The Berlin-based Lativan artist and set-designer finds discarded books, carves into their overlooked pages, coats them in cement and presents the resulting topographical forms on stark metal and concrete plithes. “Displaced Fractures,” this series of redeemed but unread tomes, is a testiment to the myths, lived stories and opportunities for intellectual growth that create a city’s human substance. She uses concrete for an equally tender purpose with her “Assemblage” series of abstract sculptures inspired by techno music. For “Window” she transforms the cityspace with a massive sensually curved outdoor wood sculpture. The form frames the view and draws attention to Berlin’s changing sky-line but unique and consistent urban essence. Continue reading
Natasha Kidd turns paintings into sculptures. She constructs sleek modernized versions of Jean Tinguely’s ‘Méta-matics.’ Tinguely’s drawing machines from the nineteen-fifties cast into question artistic authorship by mechanically producing frantic abstract artworks. The drawings themselves were only souvenirs. In contrast, Kidd’s canvases are compelling with their deep white drips and textured surfaces. But they cannot compare to the handsome arrangement of pipes, metal containers and machinery that make them. In today’s creative context, Kidd’s “paintings” comment on an artistic environment where nameless human hands make famous artists’ works and art can be mistaken for another high-end consumer produce. Here Kidd contributes her insights into these issues and the question of whether she, as the creator her painting machines, is a painter or sculptor. Continue reading
Violet Dennison’s sculptures resemble cubical dwellers’ suppressed internal lives. At Berlin’s Open Forum gallery, the Connecticut-born artist perches cement geometric forms on discarded office chairs’ wheeled support structure. These concrete squares and cylinders have bursts of whimsy stuck on their top or interrupting their centre. Although cheerful and tactile, these little moments of office-friendly fun, including plastic plants and rainbow plastic dusters, highlight the hardness and colourlessness of the cement. Dennison, who has contributed to group shows at Manhattan’s David Zwirner gallery and Derek Eller gallery, makes creativity her primary intellectual activity. Here, she explains her motives and methods.
Crystal Schenk uses animal skulls to create autobiographical artworks. Employing traditional folk-art techniques from the indigenous Huichol people in the Sierra Madre, Schenk covers deer, steer and cow skulls with beaded skins that are invested with personal resonance. She also uses skulls as a base for growing quartz and crystals in her Portland home. In this interview, we begin a conversation about intimate or accessible meanings of her compelling memento mori. Continue reading
Neil Ayling remixes historical and overlooked architectural details into disarming sculptures. For his most extensive series, Ayling photographed the interiors of Venetian churches, folded and cut the large-scale photographs and printed them on abstract sculptural bases, some nine feet tall. He performed similar trompe l’oeil wizardry with the interiors of drab London buildings. Both sets of work alerts viewers to often overlooked qualities and elements in these structures. Continue reading
The pretty young ladies from Jessica Harrison’s porcelain sculptures embody grace, poise and gentility even while cradling their bloodied intestines, figure-skating after being scalped or posing post-disembowelment and post-decapitation. These charming creatures do not seem to mind being mutilated. As lovely zombies, they shouldn’t be upset because Harrison is not doing violence to them. She is actually eviscerating the tradition that they represent. Continue reading