Wim Delvoye is celebrated for such scandalous projects as his Cloaca machines, which turn the best chefs’ cuisines into manufactured shit, and his stained-glass windows made up of X-rays and MRI images, capturing various forms of intercourse in all their oral, anal and vaginal glory. The Belgian artist returns to New York for his tenth solo show here, and at first glance, his latest works—all sculptures—are tame compared with those earlier efforts. But on closer inspection, sexual, scatological and blasphemous subtexts become wickedly apparent.
The centerpiece of the show, Suppo (scale model 1:2), is a 23-foot-tall, twisting stainless-steel lozenge suspended from the ceiling of the main gallery. Based on the Gothic tracery of Germany’s Cologne Cathedral, this glistening pi–ata comprises 3,000 computer-guided, laser-cut plates assembled into the shape of a giant rectal suppository. It took three years to design and manufacture and was, according to the artist, “a pain in the ass to make.”
Similarly contorted crucifixes continue Delvoye’s ecclesiastical explorations. The largest, Dual Mobius Quad Corpus, dangles starkly in an adjacent space, torquing Christ on the cross, while on Sperone’s second level, a group of smaller, double-helix-shaped sculptures profanely warp Jesus into DNA abstractions. Also upstairs are Delvoye’s distorted bronzes of classical French sculpture, related to ones he exhibited at the Louvre last year. Digitally deformed into three-dimensional Rorschach tests, the shimmering figures reveal sexually suggestive orifices, which are puckishly offered for viewers to contemplate.—Paul Laster