Magali Reus, Offshore, 2011, HD video, color, sound, 5 minutes 14 seconds.

Nicola Martini, Virginia Overton, Magali Reus

Freymond-Guth Fine Arts

Magali Reus, Offshore, 2011, HD video, color, sound, 5 minutes 14 seconds.

“Shiftings, displacings . . . sets of membranes, one inside the other, dense bodies, soft, thin, rigid.” Nicola Martini’s recent artist statement evokes an undeniable corporality, though no figures occur overtly in his work. The Italian sculptor is thus both naming the specter that hovers above his abstract practice (and those of so many of his contemporaries) and personifying his works so that the inanimate materials he uses—tangible sheets of sandstone and wax, among them—suddenly take on human attributes. After all, there is a certain ambiguity to adjectives such as soft, thin, and rigid, an ambiguity that could apply equally well to human or nonhuman forms. And there’s the rub, one might say.

I began reading Martini’s writings after seeing the three-person show “Heavy duty, silent haze, racing hearts,” which juxtaposed his works with equally Minimalist and coolly

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 May 2013 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

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