Press release
Comunicato stampa

Waving Back
curated by Sabine Gamper

Vernissage, 16.03.2018   19.00h

‘Our sculptures encapsulate a body and they show its sensitivity’ (Sara Enrico and Sophie Hirsch, New York, 2018) Sara Enrico (Turin) and Sophie Hirsch (Vienna) are currently guests on artists’ residencies in New York. Sara Enrico is completing a study period at the ISCP, International Studio and Curatorial Program after being awarded as winner of the New York Award fellowship for outstanding contemporary Italian artists promoted by the Istituto Italiano di Cultura New York and from Italian Academy at Columbia University. Sophie Hirsch lives in New York, and received the Artist Fellowship of the New York Foundation for Arts (NYFA), awarded by New York State to promote the artistic vision and language of selected living artists. After being invited to stage this two-women exhibition, the two artists met for the first time in New York and began an exciting exchange of ideas. The two artists share an interest for studying the human body transversally in relation to its spatial extension, its statics, its dynamics and its surface. Starting from the premises of the body seen as an architectural structure and as a singular measure and entity, both artists look for the factors that transform it stabilise it and, contrariwise, strain it. What happens when a body loses its balance? In that instant, compensation strategies, reparatory movements are set off which alter its original form. The prime subject of the conversation between the two artists, the body seen as a playful, flexible, dynamic entity in relation to an idea of precariousness. Sara Enrico’s work, based on analysis of the potentialities of surfaces and materials as alchemical narrative units, involves the shaping of fabrics, canvases and flexible materials such as foam rubber. Through positioning within the exhibition space, the resulting abstract forms investigate the ‘haptic’ dimension of the viewer’s gaze and the meaning of content. Here she presents works from the ‘RGB (skin)’ series (2015-17) and ‘Untitled’ (2015), as well as ‘Stretch Squeeze Still’ (2018), created for the exhibition. Thanks to the use of fabric, the sculptures convey an idea of living corporeal presence through their own instability. In ‘RGB (skin)’, the use of a scanner and the digital processing of the surface play a fundamental role in the artist’s approach. In ‘Untitled’, she uses a painter’s canvas and oil paint to construct objects characterized by an elementary formal language. This approach to corporeality – the relationship between forces that express themselves in the postures the works assume – gives life to ambivalent plastic manifestations, which open up strong narrative potential thanks to their contrasting nuances of meaning. Precisely in her most recent works, Sophie Hirsch has addressed subjects such as structure and balance. This is most evident in her ‘Eccentric Contraction’ (2017), a sculpture reminiscent of a piece of gym equipment that evokes concepts such as tension and equilibrium. Through a combination of materials with partly contrasting characteristics, opposing principles such as hardness and softness, transparency and opacity, flexibility and resistance meet in a dynamic exchange. ‘Proposal’ (2018), produced specially for this exhibition, is a projecting sculpture composed of large silicone elements that form surfaces and cavities. These are combined with fabric, mounted on an aluminium framework and counterpoised by blocks of cement. The work’s energy is fuelled by a combination of different forces, designed to restore a balance that is totally new and just as delicate. By composing materials in an unorthodox, innovative way, Sophie Hirsch conjures up the contradictory nature of our body, seen as a very delicate but, at once, extremely resistant construct. Packed with energy and expressive power, the forms and compositions of Sara Enrico and Sophie Hirsch are abstract representations of experiences that we collect as corporeal entities in a spatial context.
Sabine Gamper