Alicja Kwade made sculptures and object that conveys
Alicja Kwade made sculptures and object that conveys vernacular or primitive qualities. In some works, she has incorporated human or animal body parts into the work. In others, she has fashioned small items from her own body, such as a heart, a nose, or a heartstring, which she then woven into other objects. The American-born artist is skilled at creating objects that have both material and sculptural qualities.The work of Portuguese artist João Maria Oliva was on display in the main gallery space. Olivas sculptures were cast in bronze and placed in a crudely carved, wood-block frame. The works consisted of a series of small carved wooden objects that were arranged on the floor like a group of small cacti. These sculptures, which looked like body parts, seemed to have been pierced by bullets or torn off the skins. They appeared as fragments of dead meat.The violence of the broken and torn parts of these sculptures was reflected in a series of drawings Oliva made of black ink. These were carefully rendered in red pencil, which was then pasted onto the drawing, as if a knife had cut into a page of paper. The violence of the abstracted drawings evoked a sense of violence, of an unresolved tension between two opposite elements: the violent violence of the black ink on the paper and the quiet, sensual and meditative nature of the drawing.The work of Brazilian artist Marcelo Navarro was also on display, in this case in the gallerys back room. The works were made of wood and was painted with a glasslike light. Their form was reminiscent of a classical figure. The paintings were also cast in bronze and held in a wooden frame, but they were covered with a black, even metallic, substance that was quite delicate and light. Navarro has previously used materials that evoke traditional Brazilian figuration, such as iron, bronze, and clay. He also demonstrates a great ability to bring together the objective and the subjective.
Alicja Kwade made sculptures and object that conveys vernaculars like a fragrance. Her sculptures are made of pieces of raw bamboo and her most recent works are made of fragments of bamboo. This show of her sculptures and constructions included two pieces, a broken block and a head with a broken jaw. The block, which she made from simple, natural materials like bamboo, is a little fragile. It has an especially delicate, rather delicate feel, and one can imagine it falling apart at the slightest provocation. The head, which she made from bamboo, is similar to a broken head, but the bamboo has been broken. Both are out of kilter, and they are both cut and broken, as if they were the same body part. In fact, they are both broken pieces of bamboo, but the one with the broken head has two strands of bamboo instead of the usual bamboo, which is also broken.In addition to the broken block, she showed a series of sculptural reliefs. The piece in this case, Ithaca, is a series of small cast-bamboo sculptures. The relief is made of fragments of bamboo, but the bamboo has been cast in a piece of wood. The pieces are all in a similar shape, but with the same, irregular cutouts, and each piece has been attached to the wall with nails. One finds oneself looking at pieces of material that have been carefully folded and laid out on a table; each one is a careful abstraction of an abstract form. There is a subtle but distinct rhythm in the movements of the bamboo, and the sequence of cuts seems to be a sort of macrocosmic process. The cutting of the bamboo is a gesture of destruction, and it is the destruction of a simple, natural material like bamboo that seems to be the point of destruction. The materiality of the bamboo is made evident, and it is the destruction of the form that is the point of destruction.
Alicja Kwade made sculptures and object that conveys vernacular craft, but they are more than that. When the young Belgian artist, who lives in Barcelona, first came to the United States, she was accepted as a member of a group called the Generation of Light. Known for her participatory installations in the city, she has recently been included in the latter, as well as in several exhibitions on the West Coast. Their most recent show at The Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego—the most comprehensive to date—was not as spectacular as the artists previous outings, but it did show a renewed interest in an open and sculptural approach.Kwade has said that her installations are about more than just a show. The works—ranging from small to large, made of materials ranging from bamboo, foam rubber, and bronze to granite and paper—are part of a process in which they transform the everyday into art. In this respect, they provide an illustration of the artists philosophy of place. The works seem to be expressions of space, while they are also essential pieces of architecture that symbolize the complex relationship between art and space.Kwades work was given a new lease on life by the introduction of video surveillance, and the exhibition included photographs taken with a video camera. A single film, from 2004, was shown, showing the artist on the street, working, looking, and passing. The video asks the viewer to watch and respond to her actions, to feel the balance between the attraction and attraction of the stranger and the individual, and to recognize the degree to which the small acts of passing can have an enormous effect. A similar video installation, One Shot, 2008, was shown in an adjoining room. The work consists of four video monitors, suspended by cables from the ceiling to the floor. The monitors show a young woman passing in a public place. She does not do any particular action, but her movements reflect on her surroundings. She walks with a few steps of casualness, and her movements are slightly unsettled.
Alicja Kwade made sculptures and object that conveys vernacular or indigenous ideas and cultures while conveying a foreignness. In the process, she transformed the objects, which were presented as on display at the San Diego Museum of Art in 2014, into mood-charged images.The exhibition was divided into two groups of works: those created using human skin and the other were meant to be worn and enveloped by skin. In these works, the artist presented herself in situations that evoke the human body. In the work Blue/Black/White, 2014, a figure was depicted from the waist up, in a black blouse and blue trousers, standing on her head in a pose of a proud woman, while a scalloped shape of skin is rendered in black, revealing a white-striped blouse and trousers, which remain visible above her head. The figure is a female figure who has been digitally manipulated and who is looking at herself in a mirror. The mirror was hung from the ceiling, as if to be a hand mirror, and was covered with a transparent fabric. The work became a reflection of the spectator who, in turn, reflected on the body. The subject, a female figure, looks at her own reflection, but is also looking at herself. In the second group of works, which were created using wood and steel, the artist used black and white bronze, metal, and wood as her medium. These pieces were placed on pedestals, and viewers found themselves in a world of silence and the possibility of seeing. In one such work, Slaying, 2014, a bronze sculpture is suspended on metal rods, while in another, a metal chair and arm are placed on a pedestal. The only sounds are the scraping of metal and rustling of wood. The pieces could be considered still lifes, and their elements evoked the human body, though they also suggested an artificial landscape, as in the case of Blue/Black/White, in which the chair and arm are covered with black paint.
Alicja Kwade made sculptures and object that conveys vernacular cultures that are at once exotic and intimate. They are located in the home, a place in which the domestic is evoked as a single, involuntary, and absent presence.In this exhibition, we saw her return to a more serious, formal context. But it was not enough for her to simply produce generic objects: she transformed them into two-dimensional work, as well as to create a new, panoramic space that extended beyond the limits of the wall. At the same time, she created a dramatic, theatrical space that demanded the participation of the viewer. The tension between the two functions of the body in her work was clear. The viewer is seen as an interloper who participates in the creation of the work, but also as a voyeur who observes the relationships between the objects, between the inner and outer worlds, between the body and the outside. In this way, the body becomes both a vessel through which the artist transmits the impressions of its movements and a sign of its distance. These works aim to communicate the complex physical and psychological relations between the spectator and the objects he or she is watching.Kwades new work combines the personal with the formal, and thus connects to the current preoccupation with painting. In her earlier sculptures, she deliberately avoided depicting a body or an empty space. But in her new works, we see the body, but it is also a sign of a distance. And that is what we see: a distance of the body, that is, of the spectator, who, like the artist, is always placed in a remote, figurative position. These works also convey a distance from the viewer. This is where the works in-between function: the boundary between the spectator and the object, which, as in André Robus, has been completely erased in these works. This works to demonstrate the simultaneous presence of the spectator and the object that is the essence of the viewing process.