Abstraction or Figuration? Helmut Lang explores the liminal realm between the two in a must see exhibition (presenting his most figurative work with a group of freestanding monochrome sculptures), curated by the internationally renowned expert in the field of contemporary art, Mark Fletcher.

Permanently retired from the fashion world in 2005, Helmut Lang turned to art, playing mostly with form, volume, light and the material history of objects. His first solo exhibition of sculpture was presented at the Kestnergesellschaft in Hanover, Germany, in 2008. His work also has been exhibited at MUAR National Museum of Architecture in Moscow; MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst in Frankfurt; and the Fireplace Project gallery in East Hampton, New York. Lang was among the international artists commissioned to create works for “Commercial Break,” a major project for the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011, organized by Garage Projects.

Choosing materials that served a previous function and keeping that legible in his enigmatic recent works, he uses rubber, foam, plaster sheepskin and tar to accentuate their distress and keep it as the starting point for their creative destruction and consecutive reassembly and renewal.

The relationship of surface and structure is highlighted through a series of white fragmented wall works, in which the artist achieves pictorial complexity via extreme restraint. His most figurative work, a group of freestanding monochrome sculptures, is stacked into unstable totems with skin-like cracks and folds; these works stand in darkness, exposing their psychosexual content- trapped between the biology of the body and our experience of it- to shifting interpretations.


Helmut Lang: Sculptures

24 Washington Square North

May 5 – June 15

Organized by Mark Fletcher, Neville Wakefield and Sadie Coles.

All images are courtesy of Mark Fletcher.