Marking a continued engagement with scale, monumentality and perception through her enigmatic workings of steel and glass, artist Carol Bove has brought a new body of work to bear on David Zwirner’s Paris exhibition space. Marking a major show of new works by the artist, the show continues her use of crumpled stainless steel tubes, yet here takes these works and adds circular glass discs, all complemented by a stark, monochrome gallery environment.
Installed at different elevations and surrounded by gray flooring and walls, the sculptures feature unpainted, contorted and folded steel tubing that has been sandblasted to create a uniformly smooth, almost claylike finish. This matte surface attests to the works’ physical presence as unadorned steel, while also producing an illusionistic effect, as if painted. Combined with large reflective disks–made with glass, thereby echoing the nineteenth-century glass and wrought iron skylight of the gallery space above—that reflect the surrounding space at different angles, Bove’s sculptures simultaneously take in and intervene with their environment, eliding disappearance and disruption. The installation also includes a three-dimensional construction of a “Rubin’s vase,” the well-known optical illusion first developed in the early twentieth century by the Danish psychologist Edgar Rubin. The image can be read as either two opposing faces, or a vase—their shared boundary results in an unstable reversal of figure and ground. This ambiguous perceptual relationship relates to the paradoxes and ellisions at play in the overall installation between positive and negative space, and the apprehension of form versus gestalt.
The works, as a result, bring together conversations around looking and being looked at, perception altered by context and vice versa. Bove’s works, long exploring notions of optical riddles and careful dialogue between elements, here reduces many of her often explored points (color, form, space), to flat dimensions, resulting in new questions of texture and space, position and context to step into the foreground. Duality and slippage are the names of the game here, with works fading into each other and amplifying each other’s operations, all adding up to a totality of environment that underscore Bove’s work as a master of three-dimensional work.
The show is on view through December 17th.
– D. Creahan
Carol Bove at David Zwirner [Exhibition Site]