Josephsohn, Untitled, 2002, brass, 59 1/2 × 33 1/8 × 24 3/8".


Hauser & Wirth | Zurich

Josephsohn, Untitled, 2002, brass, 59 1/2 × 33 1/8 × 24 3/8".

On the wall, what appeared to be a section of a heavily weathered archaic frieze. Before it, four monolithic gray forms, reverentially displayed on plinths: Anamorphs, they at first faintly recall Chinese philosopher’s stones or Easter Island heads wind-blasted beyond recognition. They appear formed from an ur-material that recalls iron, stone, and butter all at once. Over time, the viewer is able to discern identifiably human features, and the works on the plinths are revealed to be unmistakably human busts, with expressions ranging from the mournful to the puckish. The atmosphere these works bestow is both majestic—the display of the matter is sacramental and the scale is imposing—and inescapably humorous.

Looking at Josephsohn’s sculptures offer the viewer a pleasure of a peculiarly aesthetic kind. When Hans Belting encountered Josephsohn’s work in Massimiliano Gioni’s

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 December 2015 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

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