Critics’ Picks

Georg Herold, Après Rasage (Aftershave), 2015, bronze, 39 x 47 x 84 1/2".

Georg Herold, Après Rasage (Aftershave), 2015, bronze, 39 x 47 x 84 1/2".


Louisa Clement and Georg Herold

Via Mecenate 76/45
January 17–March 28, 2020

This pairing of young and veteran German conceptualists has something of a student-teacher dynamic—the roles belong to Louisa Clement and Georg Herold, respectively—even if experiencing the gallery’s two floors feels less like learning a lesson and more like witnessing a beautiful waltz through an often ugly concern: namely, what makes us human. Titled “Area Caproni U8OPIA”—an homage to the aircraft that brought them to Milan—the show, their first in the city, sees both artists approach this lofty question with wit and spryness, through nearly forty works in media including photographs, sculptures, and even, in Herold’s abstract paintings, caviar. Clement’s sculptural series “Mold,” 2019, consists of new anthropic models formed from negative bronze castings of sex dolls. In her iPhone-shot series “Avatar,” 2016, waxy, acidic-hued dummies are captured in jarring close-up, playing with the scission between “real” and simulated life. Herold provides a more concrete and even more alienated counterpoint through surreally proportioned anthropoid sculptures in metal and wood. These populate the ground floor, drooping abjectly over tables (Après Rasage [Aftershave], 2015, and Tainted Sculpture, 2016) or leaning against the wall, as in Untitled, 2009–19, a meager wooden figure who wears a gray suit, keeping his cool. The mannequin—that expressionless avatar of consumer capitalism—ultimately proves this show’s conceptual cynosure. It’s fitting, then, that the exhibition concludes with Circling Head, 2019, in which a damaged mannequin describes the giddy vertigo that sometimes accompanies our brief flashes of self-recognition.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.