Richard Rezac “Harlequin” at Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin

By Last Updated: September 29, 2023Views: 229

For one who cites the reductionist ethos of conventional Japanese artwork and structure and 60s minimalism, the jargon of Shakers and Native American craftmanship as key references, the title of this new exhibition would possibly come as a shock. No less than I didn’t instantly affiliate Rezac’s fastidiously designed and crafted sculptures, their summary kinds, their exquisitely polished surfaces seemingly faraway from any signal of bodily labor, with Harlequin’s typically hectic and clumsy bodily actions.

Sure, artwork historical past research introduced me again to Cocteau’s and Picasso’s iconographic remedy of this character, actually extra melancholic than the final illustration of this intelligent servant with which I used to be acquainted. Fortunately, it quickly turned clear to me that extra applicable connections have been attainable. Patchwork was the magic phrase; abstraction adopted proper after. The costume of the needy little one Harlequin initially was, actually, a patchwork of various leftovers of material sewn collectively by hand and the idea of patchwork actually applies to Rezac’s follow. Firstly, as a result of his “sculptures are a conjunction, or aggregation, of two or extra parts distinct in form, materials, and coloration” (James Rondeau), coming from completely different references to structure, design, the historical past of portray and extra. Secondly, as a result of in every exhibition in addition to within the current one, the artist selects a wide range of works with no thematic or chronological consistency, however chosen as a result of they appropriately operate as a gaggle within the spatial and atmospheric situations they’re offered.

By means of time, Harlequin’s costume was topic to a strategy of abstraction that remodeled the presumably chaotic assemblages of items of material donated from associates, to the current geometric and common motive of rhombuses. Equally, Rezac’s a number of but typically obscure and undeclared references are reproposed or summed up right into a singular kind by means of a strategy of cautious abstraction. And so, it’s straightforward to discover a development of elongated diamond patterns in a few of the sculptures within the exhibition, whereas it might be much less intuitive to seek out references to a Mozart silhouette, a Piranesi design, an Oregon mountain plateau, and the artist’s forearm, as Richard himself revealed may very well be discovered within the exhibition.

In Italy, in all probability extra to the north, from the place each the Harlequin’s character and myself come, we use the expression “arlecchinata” to outline some very colourful juxtaposition of things to create one visible association. As soon as extra, one doesn’t essentially hyperlink any sentiment of bad-taste to Rezac’s follow, however the selection of this title for such a sublime parade of fastidiously hand-crafted objects, reveals not solely a type of delicate self-deprecation, however in all probability the continued battle that Rezac has together with his pure sense of magnificence. An “arlecchinata” can actually add a level of awkwardness as a device in order to not fully give up to the suffocating embrace of magnificence.

—Luca Cerizza

at Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin
till October 14, 2023

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