The sun rises under the pillar of your tongue is a group show featuring Rinella Alfonso, Lynda Benglis, Enzo Cucchi, Rezi van Lankveld, Alina Szapocznikow and Erika Verzutti. Converging painting and sculpture, the show considers the poetics of form and the inextricable entanglement of body and memory. The artists in the show, selected by Rezi van Lankveld and Emma Robertson, explore an intuitive and visceral relationship between painting and sculpture, oscillating between abstraction, figuration and symbolism.
Rinella Alfonso’s paintings foreground objects from everyday life within completely original and oftentimes stark fantasy worlds. She recurrently takes inspiration from memories of her home in Curaçao. Her latest works feature traces of a bra, piercings, a golden tooth or a hairy couch, elements that are deeply rooted in her culture. Using the formal structures of painting, Alfonso constructs poetic, abstract channels between memory and fiction, communicating new realities that speak in an imaginative and transformative language.
Lynda Benglis was first recognised in the late sixties with her poured latex and foam works. Benglis’s work created a perfectly timed retort to the male dominated fusion of painting and sculpture with the advent of Process Art and Minimalism. Known for her exploration of metaphorical and biomorphic shapes, she is deeply concerned with the physicality of form and how it affects the viewer, using a wide range of materials to render dynamic impressions of mass and surface: soft becomes hard, hard becomes soft and gestures are frozen.
In the late 1970s, Enzo Cucchi became one of the leading figures of Transavanguardia, a name coined by critic Achille Bonito Oliva to define the reintroduction of figuration into painting and sculpture, as a reaction to minimalism and conceptual rigour. Cucchi’s installations are made of diverse materials in which the image – whether painted, sculpted, or drawn – always maintains a primary role. For Cucchi, painting, sculpture and drawing are the means necessary to externalise his own inner reality, a direct line to his own subconscious; his images belong to a poetic universe that often allude to the everyday world and its culture.
Rezi van Lankveld has become known for paintings that centre on the process of depiction, its absence and presence. With a distinctive approach based upon improvisation, her works find their moments of completion when her exploration of paint builds sufficiently to sustain figuration. Imagery is as much evoked as signified, with the act of making not only subject but content. Van Lankveld’s work has unfolded at an insistently modest scale. Shifting palettes contain consistency, as if the decades of practice were all one continuous work.
A sculptor who began working during the post-war period in a classical figurative style, Alina Szapocznikow radically reconceptualised sculpture as an imprint not only of memory but also of her own body. Though her career effectively spanned less than two decades (cut short by the artist’s premature death in 1973 at age 47), Szapocznikow left behind a legacy of provocative objects that evoke Surrealism, Nouveau Réalisme, and Pop art. Her tinted polyester casts of body parts, often transformed into everyday objects like lamps or ashtrays; her poured polyurethane forms; and her elaborately constructed sculptures, which at times incorporated photographs, clothing, or car parts, all remain as wonderfully idiosyncratic and culturally resonant today as when they were first made.
Sensuous and tactile, Erika Verzutti’s sculptures often seem to sit outside of period and place, conjuring relics or archaeological finds. Realised in bronze, concrete and papier mâché, they draw from a range of sources – from vegetables and household objects to newspaper clippings and imagery found online. They take a playfully omnivorous approach to art history, quoting and reimagining works that stretch from Brancusi to Brazilian modernism, or from Picasso back to the palaeolithic.