Eva Rothschild

Charlemont House, Parnell Square North
May 23–September 21

View of “Eva Rothschild,” 2014.

Playful and subversive, yet completely assured in execution, Eva Rothschild’s series of installations at the Hugh Lane Gallery hint at a retelling of the history of sculpture. Klassix, 2013, has the appearance of a Doric column, topped with a hunk of rock. And yet it is black, and the broken segments of a fellow column lying at the base are revealed to have cores of red and green, like giant licorice candies. In Hometeam, 2014, huge Olympic rings—or could they be basketball hoops?—seem to hang in space. Look closer to discover they are supported on steel struts, hidden by long leather strips.

Starting out from the primarily male-dominated tradition of monumental Minimalism from the 1960s and ’70s, Rothschild adds wit, color, and works with a variety of materials—leather, steel, Jesmonite, wood, resin, and ceramic—to disrupt that tradition. In Do-nut (Wakefield), 2011, a large circular ring is segmented and rendered Gaudiesque with sleekly glittering ceramic mosaics in black and red. The formality of the piece is broken and undermined.

As demonstrated by her 2009 Duveens commission for Tate Britain—in which she set a single sculpture to snake through the 230-foot-long space—Rothschild is keenly aware of sculpture’s power to alter our sense of space. In her current exhibition, that awareness is echoed on a smaller scale in Lantern (Dublin), 2014, a winding colored line made from aluminum lengths linked with small steel rings, which forms a boundary within one of the gallery’s rooms that corrals the sculptures inside it. Across town, as part of the “Vestibule” project in Merrion Square, Rothschild’s Someone and Someone, 2008, is a ludic, brightly colored arch, inviting movement, interaction, contemplation: all the good things.

Gemma Tipton