Soft Sculpture

Exhibition organized for the International Museum of Surgical, on view there from May 16, 2017 – October 1, 2017, featuring work by Kate Hampel, Bobbi Meier, David Nasca, José Santiago Pérez, and Amina Ross.

header image: Kate Hampell, “Floodwall,” rock salt filled sandbags sewn with thread, cotton tape, and cloth inkjet-printed with an image of the artists skin, dimensions variable (2015)


about the exhibition
Loosely codified as a genre in the early 1960s, “soft sculpture” describes such artworks made from “ignoble” materials – that is, those sculptural materials lacking the permanence and tradition of marble or bronze. In place of these rigid media, soft sculpture is made from any number of soft materials – fiber, latex, rubber, etc. The literal associations between these materials and organic forms (particularly flesh) lends these kinds of artworks a unique viscerality. Several works in this group exhibition are made by sampling the artist’s flesh tones, imbuing sandbags or pillows with an intensely personal quality – raising questions of biography, self portrait, and representation – while diffusing the personal into abstraction. Other’s exude a simultaneously repulsive and titillating quality – resembling at once provocative nudes, and off-putting, blobby neoplasms. Sculpture created as the product of performance operates as both document and proxy for a present body. The confusion of subject and object, body and thing, pervades the exhibition and is an ever present element of the work on view.