melbourne

Inge King

National Gallery of Victoria

Inge King’s sculptures are an intensely cosmopolitan revision of Modernist abstraction. Her recent bronze constructions connote the body in a weirdly literal montage of cubist space and anthropomorphic silhouette. Until 1989, it seemed that King would continue to embellish the signs of high Modernism—impersonal surfaces, industrial materials, and geometric forms. In parallel with the reductive teleology of Modernism, she had simplified her sculptures. From the evidence of this retrospective, however, it is clear that her work always embodied a contrary tendency towards narrative complication. The most severe, resistant materials had therefore been King’s license to fetishize absolute constraint. In bronzes like Joi de vivre, 1989, extravagant gesture becomes the metaphor for mutable thought.

Despite a lifetime of manufacture outdoors, King’s sculptures are museum objects par excellence.

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the March 1993 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.