Critics’ Picks

When We Were Kings (detail), 2002.

When We Were Kings (detail), 2002.

Berlin

Helen Cho

Galerie Wieland
Ackerstrasse 5
March 9–April 20, 2002

Helen Cho takes a hygienic approach to aesthetics. The Berlin-based artist has created a series of elegant sculptures from bars of common soap. Using kitchen utensils, Cho cuts, grates, and melts the soap into uncanny shapes that recall human body parts—internal, external, and all the orifices that connect the former to the latter. Her preference for pink and red fleshy tones—both transparent and opaque—only augments the biomorphic character of the pieces, which are set out on low white pedestals like so many exotic organs on an autopsy table. The sculptures easily fuse visual with tactile pleasures, recalling the pristine soap in a package and the melting slither that escapes one’s wet fingers. Cho’s obsessive handwork gives these slightly decorative objects an eerie edge. One can’t help but wonder how the artist knows when one of her works is finished.