Boston

Boston

“HUMA BHABHA: THEY LIVE”

ICA - Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston
25 Harbor Shore Drive
March 23–May 27, 2019

Organized by Eva Respini

If, as Einstein predicted, World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones, its warriors may resemble Huma Bhabha’s powerful, tragicomic sculptural survivors. Bronze-cast totemic robots and monstrous humanoids built from discarded packing materials, massive heads held together with chicken wire and chewed-looking clumps of clay: Bhabha’s scavenged figures possess a stately, timeless presence, like statues immortalizing a gigantic future race, concocted from the choicest scraps pulled from that planet-size junkyard, earth. Alongside rarely seen masks, prints, photographs, and drawings dating from the early 1990s, “Huma Bhabha: They Live” will gather more than twenty of the Pakistani-American artist’s extraordinary sculptures, including Benaam (“nameless,” in Urdu), from her 2018 rooftop commission at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, a sort of prostrate black bag described by Bhabha as “a monumental cocoon.” Contradictory themes of rebirth and apocalypse commingle with humor and the grotesque throughout.