Critics’ Picks

View of “Beyond the Fragile Geometry of Sculpture,” 2011.

View of “Beyond the Fragile Geometry of Sculpture,” 2011.

Middelburg

“Beyond the Fragile Geometry of Sculpture”

Vleeshal
Markt 1 Vleeshal Markt
October 22–December 11, 2011

This group show poses a few significant questions for contemporary sculpture such as: What is the relationship between volume and surface? Is there a dialectic that can be forged between a figure and its physical support? The exhibition’s title is borrowed from Nicolas Roeg’s 1973 thriller Don’t Look Now, in which a fictitious book called Beyond the Fragile Geometry of Space makes a quick cameo. The protagonist of the film is an art conservator who specializes in mosaics, a medium that entails a detailed involvement with materials and alchemies for the production of images.

Eva Berendes’s large hanging curtain with geometric designs (The Middelburg Curtain, 2011) dominates the show and seems to hover between two and three dimensions—that is, between painting and sculpture. Michael Dean presents a photograph of a folded photograph of a sculpture (Success [Working Title], 2011), while David Jablonowski combines tools for the production of old and new images. The works of Koenraad Dedobbeleer and Italo Zuffi play on the boundaries between appearance and reality, form and function, sculpture and pedestal. The duo Astali/Peirce have placed a shiny, crackled polyester rectangle on the floor; the polygon appears as a gigantic black mirror, shattered to smithereens (Untitled [Capture], 2011). Finally, all that that remains of Guillaume Leblon’s melted ice sculpture (Punishment, 2008–11) is photographic documentation and a coin on the floor.

This show is well assembled, with its only limitation being that it leaves the viewer with the desire to see its themes explored more extensively and systematically than the De Vleeshal’s space permits. Still, the gathering should probably be seen as one stage along a larger path; many of the exhibitions chosen by the museum’s director, Lorenzo Benedetti, during the three years he has been in charge (Rob Johannesma’s 2010 solo show, for instance) more or less address the same questions that this one dwells upon.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.