For Ferma (5), Esther Kläs cut two planar forms from a block of granite and placed them along the forested-edge of deCordova’s Sculpture Park. Resting on the earth and largely hidden from view, Ferma (5) is meant to be discovered, evoking associations with architectural ruins and stone-laid pathways. The coarse surfaces of the low-lying plinths are punctured with drilled holes and scored with the straight channels that are the product of their quarrying, resulting in richly textured forms that are activated by the natural interplay of light and shadow. Kläs created Ferma (5) for the sixteenth iteration of deCordova’s PLATFORM series, a program which invites artists to create site-specific sculptures that engage with the Sculpture Park’s unique landscape.
Ferma (5) relates to previous sculptures by Kläs that suggest weathered monoliths or ancient architectural remnants. Kläs’s three-dimensional work is non-figurative, but often evokes the body, as she builds her sculptures to the scale of her own six-foot frame. Although she conceives her work individually, she often places them in small groupings in order to activate relationships among the forms within a given space.
Esther Kläs was born in 1981 in Mainz, Germany. She earned her MFA from Hunter College in New York City, where she currently lives and works. Kläs’s work has been presented in such institutions as Kunsthalle Bielefeld, Germany, MoMA PS1, Long Island City, NY; and Marino Marini Museum, Florence, Italy. Her work is featured in deCordova’s exhibition Drawing Redefined: Roni Horn, Esther Kläs, Joëlle Tuerlinckx, Richard Tuttle, and Jorinde Voigt on view from October 3, 2015 through March 20, 2016.
May 9 - Sep 6, 2015
Science, Nature, and Abstraction in the Art of Len Gittleman and György Kepes
Integrated Vision is an exhibition of permanent collection work that brings together highly textured, luminously pigmented paintings by György Kepes and bold, graphic screen prints of the moon’s surface by Len Gittleman to create a dialogue about science, nature, and art.
Writing about people’s inability to fully grasp the infinite knowledge available in the world–particularly in light of modern scientific advances–Kepes called for an “integrated vision” that assimilated the rational and the emotional experience. Presented together in Integrated Vision, works by Kepes and Gittleman create a conversation about the artist’s role in examining and interpreting empirical knowledge of science and nature through the lens of art.
Gittleman’s Lunar Transformation is a series of ten vividly colored serigraphs created from black and white photographs taken during the Apollo 15 mission to the moon in 1971. Gittleman uses bright color to transform the craters and crevices of the lunar surface into vibrant abstractions which recall Abstract Expressionist painting. The strong graphic prints reflect the awe-inspiring nature of their source material.
Best known for his photography, design, and writings about the marriage of art and science, Kepes was also a prolific painter. His paintings served as a vehicle for exploration of the relationship between structural and gestural marks, terrestrial and celestial allusions, and physical and metaphysical experiences. While abstract, the earthy texture and biomorphic shapes in Kepes’ paintings hint at landscapes, cosmic bodies, or amoebic forms.
Photographs by each artist will also be included to provide context for the serigraphs and paintings in relationship to the artists’ larger practices. Gittleman’s Polaroid photograms, like his serigraphs, use color and light to render abstract forms. Striking illusions of three-dimensionality appear in these images, which present a strong formal arrangement of shape, color, and shadow. Kepes’ photographs reveal a clear correlation with his paintings: both combine expressive lines and atmospheric lighting effects, reflecting his study of the intersection of science, art, and nature.
Walking Sculpture 1967–2015 considers the history and practice of walking as a means for questioning social, political, economic, and artistic hierarchies.
Featured artists include Francis Alÿs, Hannah Barco, Stanley Brouwn, André Cadere, Tyler Coburn, Kate Colby and Todd Shalom, Catherine D’Ignazio, Simon Faithfull, Shilpa Gupta, Sharon Hayes, Wendy Jacob, Joachim Koester, Melanie Manchot, Helen Mirra, Bruce Nauman, Paulo Nazareth, Michelangelo Pistoletto, and William Pope.L.
Inspired by Michelangelo Pistoletto’s 1967 performance Walking Sculpture, in which the artist rolled a newspaper sphere through city streets in Turin, Italy, Walking Sculpture 1967–2015 features an international selection of artists who engage in walking as an autonomous form of art, as cartography, as an exploration of physical experience, and as social practice. Pistoletto’s walking performance was an act of dissonance against both traditional methods of art-making and behavioral norms. In the same spirit, Walking Sculpture 1967–2015 considers artists’ use of this elemental and often overlooked act as a poetic means for questioning established conventions of seeing and thinking.
Sculpture, video, photography, and performance converge in this exhibition to address the multi-disciplinary practice of ambulation through the cityscape and the countryside. Walking Sculpture 1967–2015 is accompanied by a robust slate of public programming, including commissioned and artist-led walks in deCordova’s own Sculpture Park and in surrounding conservation lands in Lincoln and Concord, Massachusetts.
The exhibition is organized by Assistant Curator Lexi Lee Sullivan and is accompanied by a catalogue distributed by Yale University Press. Available for purchase at deCordova | Store.
This exhibition is supported in part by generous grants from the Art Mentor Foundation Lucerne, the Goldhirsh Foundation with special thanks to Donald and Jeanne Stanton, the Nathaniel Saltonstall Arts Fund, the Art Dealers Association of America Foundation (ADAA), and the Association of Museum Curators (AAMC). Additional support for this exhibition has been provided by an anonymous donor, Joyce Linde, and The Meredyth Hyatt Moses Fund.
One of deCordova's first themed outdoor exhibitions, Architectural Allusions is an international group exhibition of new commissions, long-term loans, and permanent collection works that explores the presence of architecture in contemporary sculpture. Using concrete, granite, glass, and other materials, exhibiting artists reinvent architectural traditions from ancient ziggurats to modernist pavilions. The exhibition features work by Stephanie Cardon, Dan Graham, Esther Kläs, Sol LeWitt, Monika Sosnowska, Kenneth Snelson, and Oscar Tuazon.
Boston-based sculptor Stephanie Cardon presents Beacon, constructed of two 11-foot tall concrete pillars connected by planes of thin electric yellow cables. The structure forms a passageway that visitors can walk under and look up through to experience the optical vibrations of the fluorescent cable lattice.
German artist Esther Kläs created a commission for deCordova during the spring of 2015. Kläs’s Ferma(5) is composed of two granite slabs that evoke weathered, time-worn architectural ruins and stone-laid pathways. Resting on the earth and largely hidden from view, Ferma (5) is meant to be discovered amid the Sculpture Park’s forested grounds.
Los Angeles-based sculptor Oscar Tuazon created Partners for deCordova in 2014. The work comprises a concrete beam that extends up and over to connect with one of the Sculpture Park’s maple trees, forming an architectural lintel between nature and culture.
Dan Graham’s Crazy Spheroid: Two Entrances, a two-way mirrored glass pavilion sculpture, was purchased for deCordova’s collection in 2009. While walking into and around the reflective half-ellipse structure, a viewer’s perception is disrupted, which establishes new relationships between one’s body and the surrounding landscape of the Sculpture Park.
Sol LeWitt’s Tower (DC) recalls both stepped towers of ancient ziggurats and the repeating recession of the façade of modern skyscrapers. Previously on long-term loan to the institution, deCordova recently acquired Tower (DC) in honor of Boston gallerist Barbara Krakow, who was recognized at deCordova’s Black and White in the Park gala.
Exhibited outdoors for the first time, Polish artist Monika Sosnowksa’s monumental sculpture Tower was installed in May 2015. Sosnowska’s sculpture is one of deCordova’s largest installations to date, measuring over 100 feet in length. Tower directly references the iconic architecture of Mies van der Rohe, specifically his Lake Shore Drive apartments in Chicago, Illinois. The sculpture is based on a portion of the building’s steel façade, which the artist has contorted into a cylindrical form. Tower challenges distinctions between architecture and sculpture.
Kenneth Snelson’s Wiggins Fork was added to the Sculpture Park during summer 2014. Constructed with stainless steel rods and tension wires, the sculpture is engineered to appear light and effortless despite its strength in design. Since the 1960s, Snelson has been employing the technical forces of compression and tension to create structures that are composed of both flexible and rigid components.
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