NEW YORK, NY.- Sperone Westwater
presents new work by Helmut Lang in the artist's second solo exhibition at the gallery. Since 2007, Lang has worked with found objects and readily available materials to create a dense, raw, and enigmatic body of work. Langs work is process-oriented, and the residue of his experimentation is left visible in the final product. The objects he creates have an intense physicality that evokes the human body and human condition while remaining essentially abstract.
This exhibition showcases three new bodies of work created between 2015 and 2017. A series of floor sculptures and wall reliefs utilizing memory foam is displayed on the main ground-floor. These eccentric forms hover between abstraction and figuration, physical presence and absence, amputated or erased memories, as the materials he employs also often retain the impression of the human body. Knotted around themselves, the floor sculptures hint at sensations of personal vulnerability. With their soft and sometimes glutinous surfaces and golden-brown colour, they mark a clear break with the multi-coloured vertical monoliths of Langs previous exhibition. In his wall reliefs, the foam has been distressed to create imprints on the cusp of attraction and the reality of malfunction. The tactile dimension of both series is especially pronounced, inducing an awareness of different tissues and textures of the body.
The east gallery on the ground floor features several hanging sculptures made with shellacked paper. Like the memory-foam sculptures, these layered forms possess a strong anthropomorphic presence and an unmistakable erotic charge. There is a suggestion of cruelty in the way that some are suspended at the middle from industrial hooks. Like twisted husks or shed skins, they appear to bear witness to some obscure process of metamorphosis.
The third body of new work consists of a series of surrogate skin-like wall reliefs in silk, oil, and shellack. This exhibition demonstrates Langs ongoing development of a singular and provocative visual language.
Helmut Lang lives and works in New York. He has exhibited since 1996 in Europe and the United States, among others, at the Florence Biennale, Florence (1996); Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna (1998); The Journal Gallery, New York (2007); kestnergesellschaft, Hanover (2008); The Fireplace Project, Long Island (2011); Schusev State Museum, Moscow (2011); Mark Fletcher, New York (2012); Deste Foundation, Athens (2013); Sperone Westwater, New York (2015) and Dallas Contemporary, Dallas (2016). Helmut Lang has upcoming solo shows at Sammlung Friedrichshof (Burgenland, Austria) and Stadtraum (Vienna, Austria) from 6 May - 19 November, 2017.
Helmut Lang: new work is on view at Sperone Westwater from 30 March 29 April 2017.