Critics’ Picks

Sturtevant, Gober Partially Buried Sinks, 1997, plaster, wood, wire lathe, enamel paint, artificial grass, dimensions variable.

Sturtevant, Gober Partially Buried Sinks, 1997, plaster, wood, wire lathe, enamel paint, artificial grass, dimensions variable.

Rome

Sturtevant

Gavin Brown's Enterprise | Rome
Sant Andrea De Scaphis, Via dei Vascellari 69
March 24–May 14, 2016

In April 2015, Gavin Brown opened a new location, in the deconsecrated church of Sant’Andrea de Scaphis. It was in this evocative setting (the building dates to the year 820), deliberately left unaltered since the seventeenth century, that Sturtevant, who died in 2014, had decided to exhibit Gober Partially Buried Sinks, 1997. Sturtevant became famous for re-creating works of well-known contemporary artists, in meticulous adherence to technical process. Here, in a perfect copy of Robert Gober’s Two Partially Buried Sinks, 1986–87, that Sturtevant created in Paris, the titular objects—sculptural archetypes in iron, metal, plaster, and enamel—emerge from a carpet of synthetic grass that, larger than the original work, takes over the entire floor of the chapel. Adjacent to the altar and dramatically illuminated from above, the two structures resemble tombstones without epitaphs, solely marked by pairs of holes. They look like simulacra that have been robbed of their original conceptual power and presented to the public as symbols of reaffirmation of the uniqueness of the work of art. Meanwhile, the presence of a duplicate, particularly celebrated in a former site of worship, emphasizes even more Sturtevant’s belief in the aleatory nature of concepts such as authorship and originality, and how they change in relation to the manner in which the image is produced, disseminated, and assimilated.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.