Helmut Lang: Sculptures Exhibition Opens 5/5


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: Sculptures will be open to the public through June 15th.

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.

In a series of white fragmented wall works, Lang achieves pictorial complexity through extreme restraint. The artist heightens the viewer's sensitivity to subtle variations in the surfaces and materials employed for these objects, as well as the relationship of surface to structure. Lang deflects attention from the 'picture plane' of these pieces, de-privileging one side as the face of value: Fleshy bits extrude off The Edges of the picture plane of the works, which rest at an angle on visible supports extending from the wall.

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.

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.