Critics’ Picks

View of “Iza Tarasewicz: Variables,” 2020.

View of “Iza Tarasewicz: Variables,” 2020.


Iza Tarasewicz

Gabelsbergerstr. 26
January 30–March 15, 2020

For her current exhibition, the Polish-born and Kolonia Koplany–based sculptor Iza Tarasewicz is showing steel-wire sculptures with copper cutouts and brass piping that extend through space like nets or curtains and move like mobiles in the air. Lighter and much more filigreed than the monumental works for which she is known, these pieces seem as if they were conjured by a goldsmith and evoke the designs of midcentury Eastern European decorative-arts designers such as Helena Frantová, Florica Farcasu, and Libuše Hlubučková. Her inspired geometries could also be compared to a network of radio stations. The decorative quality of Tarasewicz’s objects, however, is infused with magical or esoteric functions: viewers may associate it with the metal rods that supposedly neutralize the radiation of earth’s water veins. The amorphous forms that emerge in her graphic lines and skewed planes and spirals bring to mind the diaphanous quality of dreamcatchers.

Gridded wooden pegboards, which the artist uses to bend various materials, function as model sketches for large-scale installations as well as autonomous artworks. It is a physical undertaking to build Tarasewicz’s ambitious hanging installations: Each of the thousands of metallic pipes, slabs, and hooks is not merely industrially produced but manually shaped—nearly everything passes through the hands of the artist and her helpers, as they bend and saw the individual forms. Time and collective, manual work are thus integral components of her practice, which raises questions about the sense and purpose of unalienated labor in a postindustrial society. Here, the emphasis on process suggests that labor today could be charged with meaning differently to unfold new forms of aesthetic work.

Translated from German by Diana Reese.