Mexico City – Nairy Baghramian: “modèle vivant” at kurimanzutto Through March 11th, 2023

February 8th, 2023

Nairy Baghramian, modèle vivant (Installation View), via kurimanzutto
Nairy Baghramian, modèle vivant (Installation View), via kurimanzutto

On view this month, and opening in tandem with the run of exhibitions and projects during Zona Maco, Mexico City’s kurimanzutto presents new work by artist Nairy Baghramian, exploring a range of histories and modes of studio practice converging on the notion and form of the human body. Titled modèle vivant, the title refers to the practice of drawing, painting, or sculpting the human figure from a live model; that is, from a person who strikes, assumes, holds a given pose in service to an artist’s act of composition.

Nairy Baghramian, modèle vivant (Installation View), via kurimanzutto

The title of the show, as a result, names her new body of work but also summons a conventional history of studio procedure that often seemed to subsume or to sublimate bodies, depending on one’s point of view. These sculptures affirm that points of view can change, and sometimes must change, turning the body into a cipher for contemporary and historical mores. In a similar mode, the title refers to the act of movement around the body, and its presence in space.  Baghramian invokes the long tradition of figural sculpture (of the statue, even) in part through art-historical representation. Here, at kurimanzutto, Baghramian now interweaves her dozen abstract sculptures with nearly as many figural works by two twentieth-century artists resident in Mexico, Geles Cabrera (b. 1926) and Elizabeth Catlett (1915–2012). Cabrera’s and Catlett’s sculpted bodies here are: recumbent, enfolded, upright, propped, fragmented, skeletally articulated. Baghramian’s sculptures are similarly disposed, many appearing to recline, sit, stand. She seems in fact to solicit our habits of anthropocentric projection, perhaps also our desires for the easement of recognition, and she does this as well (once again) through language.

Nairy Baghramian, modèle vivant (Installation View), via kurimanzutto

Mining the language of the body, and equally its place in the exchange of space and perception, Bagrhramian turns the sculptures into a meditation on a continuous present. Each sculpture is designated by a reflexive verb, a form that certifies the equivalence of subject and object—reflecting an action back upon its actor. Allowing the works to move between linguistic, physical and historical moorings, the artist’s work meditates on the body’s place, both in space, and in time.

The show closes March 11th.

Nairy Baghramian, modèle vivant (Installation View), via kurimanzutto

– D. Creahan

Read more:
Nairy Baghramian [Exhibition Site]