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View of “Bruno Gironcoli: Shy at Work,” 2018. From left: Untitled, 1987; Untitled, 1999; Untitled, 1987; Untitled, 1988. Photo: Stephan Wyckoff.

Bruno Gironcoli

mumok – Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien

View of “Bruno Gironcoli: Shy at Work,” 2018. From left: Untitled, 1987; Untitled, 1999; Untitled, 1987; Untitled, 1988. Photo: Stephan Wyckoff.

“SHY AT WORK” is an unlikely title for a Bruno Gironcoli retrospective. The Austrian artist is best known for his large-scale sculptures of the 1980s and ’90s—iron, aluminum, wood, and plastic giants that seem anything but reticent, not only because of their size but also because of their adamantine surfaces, which are typically achieved via a slathering of bronze, gold, or silver powder paint on the models, which are then cast in metal. Their bodies consist of animistic figurations, assemblages of dehumanized forms that leave no space for the beholder to identify with them. Gironcoli’s consistent refusal to aesthetically integrate his sculptures—several of which are on permanent display in public spaces—into their environment gives the works an air of being irrefutably misplaced. The artist rejects public sculpture’s telos of representation and, with it, art’s

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