Culture – Stockholm Sculptures: Koon, Fritsch and Ray pay us a visit.

If you’re planning to visit Stockholm soon you simply must head out to Skeppsholmen and Moderna Museet to check out its latest exhibition “Sculpture after Sculpture”, which brings together the work of Katharina Fritsch, Jeff Koons, and Charles Ray. The display is a far-reaching examination of three innovators whose parallel endeavours has entirely rethought the customs of their art form.

An exhibition by any of these three figures would count as a huge event for the Swedish art public, so being able to present all three under one roof at the same time is truly extraordinary – so don’t miss the chance if you’re around.

28koons_CA0-articleLarge(Jeff Koons in his New York apartment)

When these far-flung artists came of age in the early 1980s, their most famous work —pointedly figural, quotidian in reference, resolutely sculptural—was completely and utterly unrecognizable as the shape of serious art to come. The history of sculpture in the modern period had witnessed the rise of abstraction, the assault of the readymade, the turn to Minimalism, and the “post-medium” environmental and social experiments that followed—a sequence that could be understood as a gradual undoing of the traditional art forms, as we had known them.

Considering these developments, by this time avant-garde orthodoxy, Fritsch, Koons, and Ray not only located their practices within sculpture’s traditional conventions; they reengaged representation and the representation of the figure in particular. The art on view in Sculpture After Sculpture may come after sculpture’s supposed demise, but it also comes after in another sense, being made after (or in the image of) the art form it would in fact reinvent. The exhibition is about exactly this, aiming to depict the way these sculptors married the experiments of the twentieth century into the intricate statuary of the twenty-first.

Kathrina Fritsch

A focused examination of thirteen masterworks, Sculpture After Sculpture begins with iconic works from the late 1980s and early ’90s that highlight the artists’ early relationships to the commodity and the readymade. The exhibition unfolds in a series of startling juxtapositions that trace the development of their practices from the found to the made, from the performed to the embodied. The show’s highlights include Koons’s celebrated Michael Jackson and Bubbles, 1988, a porcelain-and-gilt confection depicting the late Pop legend with his pet chimpanzee; Ray’s two-ton aluminum Tractor, 2005; and Fritsch’s acid-yellow apparition Madonnenfigur / Madonna, 1987, that famously materialized on a busy square in Münster, Germany, on the occasion of Skulptur Projekte Münster.