Types of venues , Art galleries , Galleries
Until Sat Jan 26
Courtesy the artist, Metro Pictures and Spruth Magers
Time Out rating:
Time Out says
Mon Jan 14 2013
This is an odd, intriguing, vaguely hermaphroditic show – and not just because of its subject matter, which is all about dolls that have been altered and recombined into weird, mutant, often multi-sexed shapes.
The exhibition itself is also a hybrid. On the one hand, it's a sort of curatorial essay or investigation in the form of a group show, full of singular selections and unusual objects. On the other, there's a more straightforward display of a gallery artist – in this case Cindy Sherman – whose work alone occupies more than half the exhibition space.
Her ten photographs stem from two different series, one monochrome and one colour, but they both depict a similar theme: mutilated, composite dolls and toys, female representations with foreign, male body parts and grotesquely lacerated faces, arranged into medical or pornographic tableaux.
While it smacks slightly of grunge-era album-cover art, Sherman is discriminating enough to avoid drifting into cliché, instead managing to come up with images that feel genuinely uncanny, simultaneously repellant and captivating.
The rest of the exhibition continues along this essentially surrealist line – from Hans Bellmer's 1937 photograph of an alluring, multi-breasted, siren-like figure, through Bruce Nauman's parable of mutual violence, his neon animation 'Double Poke in the Eye', to Jacques Offenbach's famous operatic piece, 'The Doll Song', which plays intermittently.
Throughout, the sense is of power, aggression, manipulation: not only when bodies are attacked or surgically rearranged, but also through the mere fact of representation – as in the lifelike plasterwork of a naked, pubescent girl by Morton Bartlett, fetishistically imprisoned within a glass vitrine for our visual delectation.