Nicole Wermers


With her “French Junkies 1–11,” 2002, a series of sculptures about two and a half feet high, Nicole Wermers has brought the public ashtray into the gallery as an object both useful and aesthetic. In the form of tall columns, rectangular towers, cubes stacked together like steps, or vitrines, the “French Junkies” evoke costly design objects and lifestyle accessories. Their materials—copper, aluminum, wood, plastic, glass—playfully evince the combinatorial taste of their time. Venetian blinds cloak one sculpture in an apparently regal skin, while another suggests a stylized and slender kimono. Each is topped with an orthogonal or round bowl filled with bright sand, the last resting place for the remains of cigarettes. And the gallery public overcame its fear of transgression and made use of what was supplied. Still, there are a lot of inhibitions to get past before one sticks the

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