vienna

Liesl Raff, Head 3, 2017, sheet steel, paint, silicone oil, 11 3/8 x 14 5/8 x 4 3/8".

Liesl Raff

Sophie Tappeiner

Liesl Raff, Head 3, 2017, sheet steel, paint, silicone oil, 11 3/8 x 14 5/8 x 4 3/8".

The works in Liesl Raff’s recent show “Maximal Soft” promised to transform and mollify the unfeeling hardness of the materials of heavy industry. Typically, this meant making them anthropomorphic: The two large almond-shaped steel-plate tables at the front of the room, for example, titled Eyes 1 and Eyes 2, both 2018, had steel irises mounted on a lazy Susan, and on their rims were rows of slag, dripping plasma-cut tears of steel. Similarly, three wall-hung pieces, Head 1–3, all 2017, were constructed from bent and unevenly cut sheet steel. Their anthropomorphic appeal was underlined by their hanging at eye level; in place of actual heads and faces, however, they possessed oval or semicircular flat steel surfaces, made to appear softer through the addition of an oily silicone “makeup.” While the “softness” of these anthropomorphic objects was mostly metaphorical, actual material

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