Charles Ray is a famous sculptor, he is best known for his sculptures of altered and refashioned familiar objects and pieces which adhere to a Minimalist aesthetic. Ray’s work is difficult to classify. Style, materials, subject, presence, and scale are all variable. His work has managed to find a large audience, thanks in part to its often striking or beguiling nature.
By Dimitris Lempesis
Photo: Matthew Marks Gallery Archive
The exhibition “Charles Ray” at the George Economou Collection brings together five important works spanning a period from the early ‘70s to the present, drawing draws attention to Ray’s dialogue with compositions based on readymades as well as his technologically radical sculptures, which can take several years to produce. The exhibition starts with “Future Fragment on a Solid Base” (2011), the sculpture appears to be a stitched boot with part of foot coming out of it. Something resembling a hat is perched above the knee (which sort of looks like a face) and a round canteen is hanging down from the side of the “hat”. The fragile containment of a powerful bodily event is acutely felt in Charles Ray’s “Handheld Bird” (2006). Surprisingly made of solid stainless steel, painted white with a warm surface, the sculpture is just smaller than a closed fist. From a distance the object appears egg-like but soon reveals itself as a small bird embryo, almost fully formed, at the very late stages of incubation. The form, posture, and physiognomy of the boy in “School Play” (2014) points to Ray’s interest in sources from classical antiquity: an interesting distinction given the placeholder in time this work intends to mark, the subtle turn towards manhood. Stoic and quiet, the sculpture lacks the movement of other works but at the same time feels far more noble. The exhibition includes two works that previously existed only as photographic documentation. One pairs a steel plate with fluorescent tubes, the other combines wood, rope, and brick.
Info: Curator: Gavin Delahunty and Skarlet Smatana, The George Economou Collection Space, 80 Kifissias Avenue, Marousi, Athens, Duration: 19/6-April 18, Days & Hours: Mon-Fri 10:00-18:00, www.thegeorgeeconomoucollection.com