Helwaser Gallery is pleased to present the second solo exhibition of new works by artist Christina Kruse (b. 1976, Germany). Christina Kruse: Plasterheads will be on view from May 19th through July 30th, 2021 at the gallery’s Madison Avenue space, and will introduce the artist’s latest sculpture works. Over the last decade, the artist has developed a distinct visual language within her practice. Often resembling abstracted human figures, her sculptures are defined by a combination of organic, rounded shapes offset by strong rectilinear forms. This exhibition features two large-scale installations by the artist, Lunapark (2021) and Will o' the wisp (2021).
This viewing room serves as a digital complement to the physical exhibition in the gallery's space. Through this viewing room, we take a deeper look at Kruse's creative process. Learn more about how each work came to be — in the artist's own words.
July 7, 2021
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Shot in her studio in Jersey City, this behind-the-scenes video is an intimate look into how Kruse's large-scale installation, Lunapark (2021) was conceived and realized over the course of the past year.
Displayed on a collapsible table, the installation is likened to a miniature world, where multiple figure-like maquettes are scattered across various miniature architectural elements. Rendered in different positions and poses, the maquettes resemble human figures caught in various acts: climbing in and out of the structure, looking up or down, in search for something. Presented in the first room of the gallery, Lunapark exemplifies the artist's fascination with interior and exterior states of being.
"The shapes of the figurines are not coherent or relate to one another — some are round, some heavily edged and a lot of them have a lot of negative space within them, some have no metal and some show long metal lines. They too remain neutral in their materials true colors. They are independent of each other."
"When I set out to work on what I called the Plasterheads series I had my goals set in mind. I had determined my boundaries and restrictions, made my choice of materials and decided to divide the body of work in three sections: a selection of 6-8 small studies, wall works, and single sculptures all based upon the process of shaping a final form.
I started with the small studies and created a few undefined and almost randomly as much as intuitively carved figurines in mainly plaster. The longer I spent with the materials, and the more plaster I carved, the more I realized how endless the variations are and continued carving way beyond my goal ending up with a wide range of variations. The more pieces I made the more it became clear what this group was turning into — a group of permutations — someone/something to be, undefined, not connected, or in any way related to each other but by material, space and time."
— Christina Kruse
Presented in the second room of the gallery, Will o’ the wisp (2021) evokes the imagery of a still landscape. In contrast to the thin, elongated forms found in Lunapark, these sculptures engender a feeling of solidity through their volume and weight. Created through the use of materials such as wood, marble, plaster, and soapstone, these sculptures poetically underscore a sense of settlement, steadiness, and fixity.
Read more about Christina Kruse's artistic journey in her recent interview with Dennis Golonka for Un-Titled Project here.
Accompanying these sculptures are also a second freestanding sculpture The Directionalist (2021), and a hung wall sculpture Intermission (2021). These works expand on the formal and metaphorical binaries that can be found between the dynamics of the two antimonious installations — play/rest, chaos/order, and instability/balance.
Made from plaster, wax, and alabaster, The Directionalist (2021) is a sculpture that embodies ethereal, luminous qualities.
"Plaster often functions as a non-permanent, a preliminary, a model, a maquette or something of or in a temporary stage that can be altered and changed easily. Plaster too has a documentary value and is frequently without authorship." — Christina Kruse
Building on her fascination with interior and exterior states of being, Kruse’s latest works trace a connection between the formal practice of sculpture, and the psychological conditions of continuous becoming.
Read more about her practice with these selected interviews:
"Christina Kruse Finds her Balance", The Last Magazine. June 6, 2019.
"Christina Kruse on Base and Balance", SculptureMag, June 17, 2019.
"Christina Kruse's latest exhibition is all about Balance", i-D, June 17, 2019.
About the artist:
Christina Kruse is a New York-based multi-disciplinary artist who works across the fields of photography, painting, and sculpture. Her ongoing body of sculptural works combine bronze, marble and wood in standing arrangements that reference geometry. Although grounded in structure, balance and stability, Kruse’s sculptures nevertheless evoke similarities to the human head and face, drawing connections between rationality and the oftentimes more capricious side of human life. Previous significant works include Dystonia (2013), a three-part performance artwork where Kruse confronts the instability of the human lived experience. Her earlier photographic and collage works draw on her personal biography, often deploying self-portraits layered with tape, watercolor, ink, and other media in her formal compositions. Kruse is a recipient of the GLAAD award for Best Emerging Artist in Photography (2005). Her works have been featured in solo and group exhibitions in New York, France, Austria, and Germany, amongst others.
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