21 March 2013

Karla Black

Karla Black

For the 54th Venice Biennale, Karla Black amazes with a silent ballet of delicate pastel-coloured shapes which threaten to collapse under their powdery weight or to be swept away by the slightest breeze. The odd landscape reveals fields of plaster powder, make-up and clustered piles of floury paint, sugar paper topped with eye-shadow, ribbons and toothpaste. Polythene and sellotape sculptures are scattered about the pavilion with a package-like shiny transparency.

Black insists that her interest in the use of domestic materials lies in their physical properties and not in their narrative or symbolic connotations. The peculiar usage and industrial quantities of these familiar elements conjure a very unique presence and bring out previously unnoticed qualities. A precarious pile of sawdust with a perfectly flat top is echoed by a layered pyramid of topsoil or by the lofty lightness of a polystyrene volume evoking another multi-storey cake. Here and there unfurl floating crowns of colour-tinted cellophane and aerial structures of sugar paper. The walls, at times spattered with powdered paint and turf, are covered with soft colours, while in the background floats an omnipresent and distinctive smell of soap and cosmetics.” 

 -Marie Marie D’Elbée on her installation in the Scottish pavilion at the 2011 Venice Biennale
images via Modern Art and Claire Cottrell

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