It is the third occasion that works by Argentine sculptor Laura Nucenovich have been exhibited in Galería Thames, and her collection, ‘Sobre nudos y sobre el ser’, is an impressive addition to her already well established reputation at the Palermo gallery. The exhibition is a series of figuras and nudos (knots), sculpted in iron and acrylic.
It is an exploration of the tumultuous nature of the human condition and man’s often dramatic and painful relationship with el Otro. Indeed, the collection’s blurb seems greatly influenced by Jean-Paul Sartre’s Existentialist creed that “Hell is the Other”, and the somewhat agonistic philosophy behind the work is perhaps a little heavy for those looking to enjoy a nice trip out to see some pretty art.
This said, I found the works incredibly aesthetically pleasing, and despite their rather pessimistic subject matter, the sculptures of ‘Sobre nudos’ are an exhibition of the artist’s remarkable skill. Born in Buenos Aires where she was trained by the sculptor Ernesto Levin, Laura Nucenovich’s notion of her “own existence” is what compels her to create. She sees her sculptures as a representation of this and a “continuation of the ardent search for a signature style, without ignoring tradition”.
Walking through the gallery, I have no doubt that each sculpture of this collection is profoundly influenced by personal experience. The expressions of pain and anxiety upon the faces of each contorted figure seem intensely real, as though the products of the artist’s deep and genuine understanding of the sentiments they convey.
The sculptures – some of which are displayed on plinths, others suspended from the ceiling – mainly show female figures whose elongated, wire-like limbs have been stretched into knots which restrict or encapsulate their bodies. These knots either encircle the figures, imprisoning them, or else they impede their reach towards something unattainable. A few of the sculptures (my favourites being the ‘Vínculos’ series) feature two or three bodies intertwined; they seem combined in a manner similar to the lovers of Gustav Klimt’s sensual painting ‘The Kiss’. However, as opposed to evoking bliss, Nucenovich’s figures do not make eye contact, depicting a more tragic relationship between human beings.
Certainly, it was these figures’ faces which I found to be the most compelling aspect of the work. The eye of the spectator is immediately drawn to the furrowed brow and anxious expression of the earthy yellow figure of ‘En el camino’. The piece projects utter claustrophobia as she sits inside an imprisoning orbit of her own knotted limbs.
Similarly, tucked away on the gallery’s patio were two alien-esque figures, their bodies splayed, spread-eagled and moulded to the curved shapes of the insurmountable wire circles within which they are trapped. Although not knotted, the subject of ‘Salir de la tormenta’ is entirely ensnared, her back arched, striving to be freed to the point where her neck appears broken, and her body abstracted as though a spectacle from Cirque du Soleil.
Such pieces were powerful, and set against the plain white, softly lit walls of the minimalistic gallery, the sculptures were dramatic. Two other exhibitions are running alongside ‘Sobre nudos’. Towards the back of the gallery are Dan Weisman’s photographic explorations of people in space: ‘El no lugar’, and Luis Alteri’s bright, abstract collection of paintings entitled: ‘Ultimo Juego’, in which he plays with colour and creative freedom.
These diverse works provide a stark contrast with the main exhibition, and the gallery constantly offers an innovative and interesting selection of contemporary art, broaching a range of ideas and encompassing a variety of styles and medium.
The gallery’s directora, Mabel Ibarra, tells me that the Galería Thames exhibits the work of both prominent and lesser known contemporary and abstract artists boasting a turnover of new collections every three to four weeks. The space, which opened in 2007, is chic and modern, and the crowd which gradually filled the gallery around me throughout the evening was young and trendy. It would be an excellent idea to investigate future exhibitions, and check out what the space in Palermo Soho has to offer. Whether or not you subscribe to the profound and complex philosophies which are so often proposed by contemporary artists, ‘Sobre nudos’ is not only indisputably interesting and absorbing, but it is an attractive accompaniment to an evening spent sampling an elegant gallery.
For those interested in purchasing pieces from the collection, prices range between $1,700 and $3,900.
‘Sobre nudos y sobre el ser’ is running until Tuesday 6th October at Galería Thames, Thames 1776, which is open Monday-Fridays, 2-8pm and Saturdays, 3-8pm. Entrance is free. For more information on Laura Nucenovich, visit www.lauranucenovich.com. For more information on upcoming exhibitions at Galería Thames, call 4832 1968 or write to firstname.lastname@example.org