Critics’ Picks

Zofia Kulik, Instead of Sculpture: Lady Halina and Cones (detail), 1968-71, ink jet print, 18 x 12”.

Berlin

Zofia Kulik

Zak | Branicka
Lindenstrasse 35 EG - Ground Floor
June 26–September 13, 2014

Filmic images do not function as representations of external phenomena, observed philosopher Gilles Deleuze in his key study on cinema. These images are instead concrete realities of movement and time. Strictly speaking, Zofia Kulik’s latest solo exhibition, “Instead of Sculpture – Sequences 1968-71,” doesn’t feature film or sculpture, but a body of early photographs. Filmic registers suffuse these works, however, and serve to interrogate both the classical genre of sculpture and its gendered tradition.

Among photographs of objects and materials, as in Bundle Tower, a three-part series depicting a formless heap of gray, wooly thread with protruding paper scrolls (all works 1968–71), the artist’s photo sequences of a middle-aged woman in states of undress are conceptually and affectively the strongest. Instead of Sculpture: Lady Halina and Cones, for instance, pictures a model in a bikini and sunglasses sitting with crossed-over arms on a chair. The first image of the smiling woman feels personal and yet somewhat awkward, like an intimate snapshot of someone only distantly known. Followed by a sculpture of the model’s naked body, upon which a string of yellow paper cones has been placed, the series progresses with shots of Lady Halina’s body bending and turning as if prompted to move by the cones covering it. Kulik stages the female body to become a sculptural prop—a malleable, soft object. But here, there is not only a smooth surface made to last, but a living and aging body. Her model’s skin, like human celluloid, has recorded the passage of time.