The centerpiece of the Austrian-born Oliver Laric’s latest gallery show at Tanya Leighton’s Schöneberg space is the captivating, animated film Exoskeleton. It reveals the endless mutability and metamorphosis of encasements, from organic shells to human armour.
With its infectious, drony soundtrack – giving it an almost comic level of profundity – connected images pulse through the screen: a vectorised dinosaur, a gradient shaded crab, a fly landing on shit, a praying mantis evolving into a disneyfied big-eyed bug. The artist has always been concerned with how objects and images are appropriated, remixed and modified. QED the classical, polyurethane sculptures – both nauseous and desirable – that he makes into 3D scans available for anyone to download.
With its infectious, drony soundtrack – giving it an almost comic level of profundity
His new bas-relief, Sleeping Figure, references a complicated history. Laric has reunited a Roman sculpture of a Hermaphroditus with the suckling infants – and genitals – previously attached to it: an 18th century collector, Henry Blundell, had simply hacked them off to create an aesthetically more ‘pleasing’ figure.
This visual piece of historical revisionism questions our shifting perceptions whilst recalling antiquity’s easy embrace of gender fluidity. Nearby, a segmented brass wall piece shows an etching of a beech tree. As you move around it, different sections reveal and conceal themselves. It’s a work that manages to be both subtle and garish, and like all the works in the exhibition, has its own deceptive sense of alchemy.
- Tanya Leighton Gallery, Kurfürstenstraße 25, details, 10.09 – 05.11.2022