Critics’ Picks

Le Flamboyant (The Flamboyant), 2008, wood, cast aluminum, steel, leather, varnish, Clark Foam, paint, and felt, 78 3/4 x 63 x 37 3/8".

Le Flamboyant (The Flamboyant), 2008, wood, cast aluminum, steel, leather, varnish, Clark Foam, paint, and felt, 78 3/4 x 63 x 37 3/8".

Paris

Wilfrid Almendra

Bugada & Cargnel
7-9 rue de l'Équerre
February 28–April 19, 2008

Crafting a post-Pop aesthetic, French artist Wilfrid Almendra fashions a series of exuberantly sensuous sculptures, and one portrait collage, out of natural materials including wood, felt, and peacock feathers. While maintaining the glamorous sheen of “finished” work by precisely determining each angle, curve, and juncture of these tightly formal pieces, Almendra allows the organic nature of certain elements to remain exposed. The central hanging sculpture, 5.1 (all works 2008)—which could be described as a bouquet of speakers or perhaps a bundle of trumpets, announcing a massive party or the gates of heaven—is embellished by the knots and curved grain in the wood used to create each amplifier or horn. The piece dangles between two enigmatic floor-bound sculptures, She’s Electric (Red # 1) and Le Flamboyant (The Flamboyant). With their smooth joints and shining physicality, they angle toward the hanging work as if in attentive, even worshipful poses. In particular, Le Flamboyant, a glossy wooden anthropomorphic form—set atop an aluminum globe, decked with dazzling five-pointed stars, and dressed with tresses of golden leather and a pair of felt wings—seems to struggle with its own immense and dramatic presence. Tilted as if threatening to slip off of its black-varnished pedestal, the sculpture visually connects with the hanging work while improbably retaining an ego all its own. The back room contains the show’s titular work: a composite series of drawings depicting the artist’s profile as he completes a 360-degree rotation, with two peacock feathers aligned so that their striking iridescent spots become the eyes of the durational portrait—a vision of kitsch unexpectedly channeling the unrefined.