Opening to the public May 5, 2012, the exhibition Helmut Lang: Sculptures will present a series of enigmatic recent works from the artist’s ongoing explorations into the liminal realm between abstraction and figuration. Co-curated by Mark Fletcher and Neville Wakefield, the exhibition will go on view at 24 Washington Square North and include more than twenty new sculptures by the artist.
Helmut Lang works with form, volume, light and the material history of objects. His materials, including rubber, foam, plaster, sheepskin and tar, often have served previous functions that remain legible in the surfaces of Lang’s art. Discs of rubber that once provided protection are here assembled into a vertical language of figuration. Their softened edges record both the process of erosion and their progression from industrial object to gallery artifact. In Lang’s work the distress of found objects becomes the starting point for a larger meditation on acts of creative destruction and the gestures of reassembly and renewal that attend them.
With a group of freestanding monochrome sculptures, Lang presents his most figurative work. Stacked into unstable totems with undulating skin-like cracks, sags and folds, these works are unified in a light-absorbing, chalky darkness. Their psychosexual content appears formed on the border between the biology of the body and our experience of it, and their priapic tendencies appear at odds with the gravity and gravitas of the dark matter from which they were formed, inviting shifting interpretations.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Born in Vienna, Austria, in 1956, Helmut Lang lives and works in New York City and on Long Island.
Having made art throughout early adulthood, Lang established a fashion label under his own name in 1978, presented his first collection at the Centre Pompidou in 1986, and achieved global recognition in the field over the following two decades. During those years, Lang maintained his connection to art and undertook collaborations with Jenny Holzer and Louise Bourgeois, among others. He retired permanently from the world of fashion in 2005 to turn to his art full time. Lang’s recent works explore the tensions between abstraction and figuration, and investigate space beyond the limitations of the human body.
Helmut Lang’s first solo exhibition of sculpture was presented at the Kestnergesellschaft in Hanover, Germany, in 2008. His work also has been exhibited at MUAR National Museum of Architecture in Moscow; MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst in Frankfurt; and the Fireplace Project gallery in East Hampton, New York. Lang was among the international artists commissioned to create works for Commercial Break, a major project for the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011, organized by Garage Projects.
Helmut Lang: Sculptures was organized by Mark Fletcher, Neville Wakefield, and Sadie Coles.
ABOUT MARK FLETCHER
Mark Fletcher is admired internationally as an expert in the field of contemporary art. He is a curator, collector, advisor, and private dealer with almost three decades of experience organizing special exhibitions and projects independently and for leading galleries in the United States, Europe and Asia. Fletcher has worked closely on projects with dozens of significant artists, including Richard Prince, Matthew Barney, Rachel Whiteread, Gabriel Orozco, Ed Ruscha and Kiki Smith.
Fletcher's expertise extends to the world of architecture, and his current initiatives often explore the relationship between contemporary art and the built context in which we experience it. In New York City, his public exhibitions are presented in two separate venues — a 19th century townhouse at 24 Washington Square North, and the landmark penthouse at 23 Beekman Place, designed in 1977 by renowned architect Paul Rudolph. These sites serve as curatorial platforms for exploring the work of both established and emerging artists and designers, as well as other curators and collectors.
Additionally, Fletcher maintains viewing spaces at the Domus Solaris in Los Angeles; a house designed by Daniel Libeskind in Connecticut; and a residence at 25 Columbus Circle in New York City.
Helmut Lang: Sculptures is open to the public at 24 Washington Square from Tuesday through Friday, 12PM to 5PM, or by appointment.