Defying tradition

Gallery 305

The sculptures in this section differ radically, yet all probe the possibilities for the medium in innovative ways. Traditional techniques such as casting and using an armature upon which to build a three-dimensional form are replaced by supports ordinarily foreign to the discipline. Alyson Shotz, for example, calls into question the fundamental sculptural concern of occupying space in Object for Reflection (2017), which consists of countless small pieces of perforated aluminum bound together by steel rings. From a distance, the object appears to be a solid, voluminous sculpture, but a closer look reveals the translucence and malleability of the material. Tension and gravity, rather than volume and mass, transform the metallic sheet into a sculpture.

The notion of the inspired artist working alone in her studio is overturned by the works in this gallery which demonstrate unorthodox approaches to artmaking. Performance, experimentation, collaboration, and play are central to the contexts from which these works emerged. For instance, Yoko Ono’s Hichiko Happo (2014) was painted during a public performance synthesizing her performative and plastic artmaking practices.

Artist collaborators Peter Fischli and David Weiss’s The Way Things Go (1987) is the ultimate demonstration of wit. The film is a cinematic chain reaction of the illusion of continuous movement between ordinary materials such as tires, fireworks, and a balloon. Misleadingly simple in its presentation, the sequence of orchestrated failures in the form of falls, spills, and small explosions creates a continuum of controlled chaos. In a delightfully inventive combination of play and experimentation, The Way Things Go is an embrace of absurdity and the everyday object, calling into question the foundations of high culture.