Giacometti, Twombly, West: Sculptures of Existence
curated by Dieter Buchhart
May 3 - June 23, 2018
Opening: Thursday, May 3rd, 6:00 - 8:00 pm
Venus Over Manhattan
980 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10075
(New York, NY) – Venus is pleased to present Giacometti, Twombly, West: Sculptures of Existence, an exhibition curated by Dieter Buchhart which explores the shared tactile quality in the work of Franz West and his predecessors, Alberto Giacometti and Cy Twombly. The show, comprising over fifty works, will be on view from May 3rd through June 23rd, 2018.
Despite their biographical and geographical differences, the oeuvres of Alberto Giacometti, Cy Twombly, and Franz West are bound by a similar rawness inherent to their materials. Harald Szeemann presented work by Giacometti, Twombly, and West in his 1985-1986 group exhibition at the Kunsthaus Zürich. The connection between these artists rests in their relationship to texture, form, and presence. Buchhart has assembled an expansive group of sculptures, wall works, and works on paper, that reflect similar approaches to materiality and expression
A large selection of works by Franz West, produced between 1976 and 2007, display the artist’s uniquely tactile approach to form. In reference to his installation for the Austrian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 1990, the gallery walls are painted bright red, emphasizing the subtle changes in color and surface of the artist’s predominantly monochrome sculptures. Situated on pedestals around the gallery, a large group of West’s Adaptives (Paßstücke) represent the foundation of his practice. Begun around 1974, the Adaptives come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and variously resemble squiggles, shovels, sticks, clubs, plates, and body parts. The suggestive forms of West’s Adaptives laid the groundwork for his subsequent sculptural developments: works from his Name Work (Namensbild) and Object Work (Objektbild) series illustrate his dedication to the physical qualities of modest materials like plaster and papier-mâché. Later in his career he was able to achieve larger scales using the same materials, which he would often paint with splashes of bright, saturated colors. Also on view is a series of works on paper, produced between 1976 and 2005.
Alongside the works by Franz West are four impressive bronze figures by Alberto Giacometti. Nu debout sur socle cubique (1953), Petit monstre II (1953), Grande femme assise (Annette assise) (1958), and Homme à mi-corps (Diego Assis) (1964-1965), illustrate the iconic, modeled quality of Giacometti’s sculpture, demonstrating his approach to materiality. Also on view is a selection of works on paper by Cy Twombly, which use looping, gestural marks to create expressive compositions. West’s appreciation of Twombly is well documented – he produced a papier-mâché sculpture titled Twombly, in 1988 – and the spiral forms of his early Adaptives suggest Twombly’s lines in three dimensions. In his obituary for Franz West, Jerry Saltz linked the work of these three artists: “Using papier-mâché, plaster, wire, wood, straw, and who-knows-what, topped off with scads of white paint, West made medium-sized and portable sculptures that come out of the sketchy semi-dead-and-alive figures of Giacometti...Cy Twombly’s weird white anti-classical sculptures, and his own high disregard for high art pretensions.” Taken together, these artists’ works demonstrate a shared desire for rendering expression in physical form.
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