new-york

Gilberto Zorio

Sonnabend Gallery

Gilberto Zorio's elegantly awkward “suspension” sculptures aren’t the mute, static objects they seem to be. They not only span gallery space—bridging and binding floor, wall, and ceiling—but, at seven-minute intervals, sound off, filling the space with some perturbed cross between noise and music. The pieces are usually made of copper and steel pipes feeding into vessels of water (aqua vitae?); they are occasionally animated by blasts of air generated by small compressors. At the moment of boiling, sound issues from hidden whistles and harmonicas: the sculpture is energized, indeed, it really starts to “jump.” All this elementary mechanical effort to generate a primitive effect!

The pieces make use of prosaic materials in a poetic, typically arte povera way. But they are rich with iconopoetic connotations that extend beyond the material. In Canoa (Canoe, 1988 ), an elongated canoe—long nose

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