New York

Izhar Patkin

Holly Solomon Gallery

Palagonia, 1990, Izhar Patkin’s installation of paintings, sculpture, and photographs, is characterized by glamorous desolation, by morbidity brought under the rule of the pleasure principle. A quasi-Baroque sculpture which, along with a shopping cart loaded with high-tech gadgetry, provides the exhibition’s focus, constitutes a kind of parable of fallen, or at least tortured, humanity. In a perverse betrayal of Bernini’s Saint Theresa, a putto thrusts a gilded spear towards the heart of a haloed figure writhing in agony. Devilish, music-making revelers with what can only be described as crapulous, carbuncular skin—no doubt the residue of the wax phase of sculpting, which Patkin regards as the process’ most creative moment and calls his “ghosting process”—complete the bizarre scene. A complex parable of ambivalence—of ecstasy and suffering, and their inseparability—the sculpture transcends

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