14 May 2015

Emil Alzamora - Mind Sculptures by Sabin Bors

Photo from Alzamora's facebook page

 In a 2010 article titled "Emil Alzamora's Sleek Metaphors," Benjamin Sutton says these sculptures "are like numerous cautionary anecdotes encapsulated in one human figure, however deformed."

The author remarks Alzamora’s “uncanny aesthetic” as “a fusion of classical sculpture and Surrealism, with occasional shades of Minimalism and Expressionism,” and that “each bust, body and hybrid organism has a striking presence and tangible mass. Most forms are creepily, intentionally lifeless, calling to mind ancient Greek sculptures, but also the imposing, enigmatic object-hood of a Robert Smithson installation. Other works still bare traces of the artist’s hand, calling to mind the stretched-out bodies of Alberto Giacometti.” (Benjamin Sutton, Emil Alzamora’s Sleek Metaphors) Mention of the “primordial chasm between body and mind” and the visual commentaries on contemporary body image issues “reflecting the idea of being fundamentally estranged from one’s body” avert the viewer to the artist’s manifest intention to denature conventional representations of the human form. Lyle Rexer too thinks that in Alzamora’s sculpture, “concept meets craft at a very high level,” and sees this in contrast with “the general de-skilling of art and the rise of conceptual strategies, which have gone hand-in-hand since the early 1960s,” amounting “to an old-fashioned, Henry-Fordish division of labor” that has taken over in the art world. Rexer adds Alzamora to a list of sculptors such as Cemin, Kiki Smith, Pier Consagra, Martin Puryear, or embroidery artist Angelo Filomeno, who “demonstrate that knowledge of materials, and, more importantly, of techniques, opens doors to imagery that can’t simply be ‘conceived’ out of the cultural ether.” (Lyle Rexer, Emil Alzamora: Random Mutations That Work) The author addresses not only the artist’s “virtuosic performances,” to mark the line between fairy tale and allegory, which – as in the case of Kiki Smith – is always “in danger of veering into literalness, an art that speaks too much for itself,” but also the psychological and political character of the distortions of the human “that work only as expressions of a distorted society.”

More from this article by Sabin Bors at Anti-Utopias.

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