Pierre Huyghe is a producer of spectacular and memorable enigmas, with works that function more like mirages than as objects. Abyssal Plain (2015–ongoing), his contribution to the 2015 Istanbul Biennial, curated by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, was installed on the seabed of the Marmara Sea, some 20 metres below the surface of the water and close to...
In the early decades of its existence, New York's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), founded in 1929, transformed from a philanthropic project modestly housed in a few rooms of the Heckscher Building on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street, to an alleged operating node in the United States' cultural struggle during the cold war, and one of the...
Hans Hartung and Art Informel at Mazzoleni London (1 October 2019-18 January 2020) presents key works by the French-German painter while highlighting his connection with artists active in Paris during the 50s and 60s. In this video, writer and historian Alan Montgomery discusses Hartung's practice and its legacy.Born in Leipzig in 1904, Hans...
we go out inside presents a new series of sculptures based on a common form: the plinth. The apparatus of the plinth, the act of placing one object on another, is a fundamental tenet of sculpture. Armanious has cast seven ‘Perspex’ plinths from polyurethane resin using a single mould. The textural contrasts in the original form – transparent plastic and opaque protective paper – establish a dialogue between transparancy and opacity that continues across the works in the exhibition.
Each support is adorned with an arrangement of exquisitely cast ‘ready-mades’. Every item has been meticulously recreated in polyurethane resin, silver or bronze. Armanious’s facsimiles are only distinguishable from their counterparts by subtle clues – thin seams from the moulds or tiny bubbles fossilized in resin. Nothing here is painted or touched up. Armanious ‘paints’ with each pour of pigmented resin into a mould. A layer is set down and the next is poured, imbedding the colours and textures into each other. Through the process of duplication, commonplace objects are transformed into items of wonder and beauty. If a plinth typically acts to elevate an object into the realm of art, here it is the process of casting that raises the object. There is no destinction in Armanious’s work between sculpture and support, instead, replication plays the role of the plinth. It is the allure of the copy that shifts our perception of the object at hand.
The informal aesthetic of the ready-made is brought back with Armanious’s playful and often humorous arrangement of these precious things. Smokers has a breathing space, The pomegranate is bursting with fertility and the mixers in Lighthouse evoke rotating beacons. The poetic arrangements oscillate between the sublime and the absurd. A light bulb balances perfectly on two uneven drinking glasses, sunglasses are suspended in a fog, and a chunk of natural rock crystal competes with polystyrene for attention. Armanious’s selection of objects elaborates a narrative of visibility and invisibility. The compositions are visual riddles on the subject of seeing. A camera case, which is a blindfold for mechanical sight, is supported by a lighter (an illuminator) and paired with a dense, impenetrable block of concrete (that also echoes the camera’s form). In Power nap a solid but translucent multi-faceted lantern sits in a vitrine like a giant diamond in an oversized setting. Next to it, a row of coloured paint pots refer to the light spectrum as if refracted through a cut jewel.
In the major work Coin circular perforations in glittering bronze ‘cardboard’ render a solid material see-through. They also suggest the stamping out of currency. We are reminded of the very sculptural methods employed in the creation of money, where nondescript metal is transformed into a system of value through form and imagery. The idea of material transformation, of spirit becoming flesh and vice versa (as symbolised by the single host) is an allegory for the manifestation of objects in art. Absurdly, a cracker stands in for currency and transubstansiation, and is also, a plinth of sorts.
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