Critics’ Picks

Vanessa Beecroft, VB67.007.RK, 2010-11, color photograph with Diasec, 90 x 3”.

Vanessa Beecroft, VB67.007.RK, 2010-11, color photograph with Diasec, 90 x 3”.


Vanessa Beecroft

Lia Rumma | Milan
Via Stilicone 19, 20154
June 7–September 11, 2011

In last year’s performance of VB67 at Studio Nicoli in Carrara, the bare skin of Vanessa Beecroft’s models acted as a rival attraction to the cold beauty of the plaster and marble statues nearby. At Lia Rumma, however, many of the performers’ bodies have been dusted to look as if they are made of marble, at once merging with and seeming to emerge from the stone forms that surround them. The artist has previously experimented with a mimetic relationship between statues and her performers, but for this Milan exhibition she introduces a variation, using marble of all possible types and in all stages of work: polished, rough, in blocks, in slabs, and transformed into architectural fragments (capitals, columns, and bases) as well as statues. These are the materials that constitute the show “VB Marmi” (VB Marbles) and the setting for the performance VB70, 2011.

Here, thematic forms seem to transmigrate from coarse stone to rough-hewn block, the sculpted figure, or the living body, all the while oscillating between cold and hot, hard and soft, natural and artificial, transitory and eternal. Just as the models seem like statues, but nearly imperceptible movements remind us of their instability and humanity, the marble sculptures obtained from plaster casts of female bodies reveal, in their form, the memory of true fragility. With this exhibition Vanessa Beecroft delves into her relationship with art history and theatrically orchestrates in the space a sampling of references deriving from the statuary tradition, both in her choice of supports and in her typologies, from the torso to the portrait, in the end communicating the ephemeral nature of humanity.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.