Critics’ Picks

Armature hand on hip, 2006.

Armature hand on hip, 2006.

Düsseldorf

Clare Stephenson

Linn Lühn
Birkenstraße 43
May 5–June 3, 2006

The sculptures included in this exhibition represent inhabitants of Clare Stephenson’s studio: small, helpful spirits that come to the artist’s aid, there to strike a pose when necessary. Here, they have been placed on tall, thin pedestals, reluctantly attempting to maintain their positions. A resident of Glasgow, Stephenson has, for the first time, brought a large group of these sculptures together: Neither complete figurations nor reduced abstractions, they stand in front of the works on paper like a gathering of shy models.

Assembled from a couple of casually varnished wooden boards, Armature hand on hip, 2006, which has an enormous, vaguely trapezoidal head, turns its back on the paper work The Stole, 2006, as if ashamed. The artist has plundered the classics, knitting together references to Canova, among others. Made from a photocopy, The Stole has been cut into several pieces and reassembled. Repertoire, 2006, features a flâneur drawn in the French caricatural tradition of Daumier. Its top hat ends in a curious, delicate loop that frames the crumpled piece of paper. Here, Stephenson calculates the tiniest displacements between two and three dimensions with breathtaking skill: The odd crease, the slightly raised impression of a cheap relief, and the well-placed kink all mark an intermediary zone populated not as one would populate the white spaces on a map, but with all the personality of land itself.