New York

Simon Frost/Bura Sculpture

Peter Blum Gallery

It seems perhaps an odd coupling at first: a grand display of third- to tenth-century terra-cotta funerary sculptures from the West African burial ground Bura-Asinda-Sikka; and Simon Frost’s eloquently delicate drawings, most in graphite, others in gouache, ink, and watercolor, all from the ’90s. Many of the hollow sculptures are conspicuously phallic, while others are potlike urns. Some are tall and topped with small heads, which gives them the peculiar look of late Giacomettis. The receptacles were found buried with their openings facing down, ostensibly filled with the deceased’s possessions, teeth, and a few key bones.

So how do Frost’s nonfigurative drawings and the implicitly figurative Bura sculptures relate? Through the latter’s surfaces, which are so elaborately and minutely detailed that they seem like finely incised skin that has healed in a raised inscription of scar tissue.

to keep reading

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

Not registered for Register here.

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

Order the PRINT EDITION of the May 2000 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

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