David Behringer writes about WAVE for Design Milk, currently on view at Marlborough through September 10, 2022.
Marlborough is pleased to present WAVE, a group exhibition inspired by the core principles of post-war geometric abstraction and kinetic art. The show is comprised of works whose effects become notably disembodied from the material and are instead entrusted to the viewer’s physical and optical participation.
The exhibition opens with Naum Gabo’s Construction in Space: Suspended Version II, 1957/64. Gabo was a pioneer of Constructivism whose linear constructions developed kinetic patterns assimilated by many of the artists included in this group exhibition. Two seminal works by Group Zero founders Otto Piene and Heinz Mack are included, as well, utilizing light and motion as guiding principles in their work.
At the center of the exhibition is a thirty-foot sculpture by the Venezuelan artist, and Group Zero member, Jesús Rafael Soto, Penetrable Azul de Valencia, 1999. The interactive and monumental work articulates the artist’s concept of dematerialization through optical vibration. In an essay written for the 1969 exhibition held at Marlborough, the artist’s first in the United States, Guy Brett writes of the Penetrables:
Thousands of plastic threads well over head-height hung down in the space thickening it into a dense medium. The work could be entered from any direction and the threads were occasionally stirred en masse by the wind. Here the kind of diffusion explored in Soto’s paintings becomes an enveloping experience, and, in a significant sense, a communal experience. Brushing through, there is an extraordinary feeling that one’s physicality is diffused, and other peoples’ also, so that people no longer abutt upon one another like objects, as they do in the street. In the modern street we are all eyes, staring, and our tightly defined bodies move along mechanically. In Soto’s Penetrable the eyesight is scattered with all the delicacy of an object in one of his kinetic paintings. It is with our whole bodies that we experience the ‘climate’ of the work and welcome the illusion.
On view alongside the Soto are two large-scale steel works by American sculptors Beverly Pepper and Kenneth Snelson. Also presented will be works by Ugo Rondinone, Gustavo Pérez Monzón, and Joseph La Piana, all of whom are contemporary artists working within the tenets of geometric abstraction.