Paul Kasmin Gallery presents Caryatides, the first solo exhibition devoted to Bosco Sodi’s clay cube sculptures. The show is Sodi’s first with Kasmin in New York and is accompanied by a new monograph with a forward by Dakin Hart and published by Hatje Cantz.
Sodi employs the systematic approach of minimalism but eschews the cold precision of industrial manufacturing, electing to use traditional vernacular methods that retain the essential character of the local elements of earth, water, air, and fire from which the sculptures are created. Sodi begins his sculptures by extracting raw earth, mixing it with water and sand to form clay –an ancient medium. The clay is shaped and smoothed by hand into solid cubes that are left to air dry in the sun at his studio in Oaxaca, Mexico. Once cured, the cubes are fired in a traditional brick kiln with wood, jacaranda seeds and coconut shells, a process that imbues the cubes with varied terracotta hues, streaks of green and black, and a multitude of fissures in the surface, giving each cube a unique identity.
Sodi considers these works living sculptures — the surfaces are determined by the essential character of the materials and processes rather than the pure imposition of the artist’s will. Sodi’s work is informed by the Wabi-sabi worldview of aesthetics where beauty is expressed in imperfection, transience and simplicity. Each earthen cube represents an essential geometry and a primary unit of mass. Stacked in columns, they imply a system of building that can be extended to myriad structural possibilities. Caryatides transforms the gallery into a garden of totems varying in scales, creating a meditative space through which visitors may explore. The vertical columns relate to the human form, but also recall game pieces, towers, and the eroded hoodoos of badland topography.
Preceding Caryatides, Paul Kasmin Gallery presented Bosco Sodi: Muro, a one-day performative installation on September 7, 2017 in Washington Square Park. Made of 1,600 removable clay timbers using the same process as with the Cubes, Muro was built by Sodi and his family and friends from Mexico in the center of the park. As the day progressed, the public was invited to each take with them a clay timber, resulting in dismantling the wall through collective participation. Tom Finkelpearl, NYC Commissioner of Cultural Affairs, remarks, “New Yorkers have always been more interested in breaking down barriers and walls than building them … and Bosco Sodi’s powerful installation Muro distills the importance of welcoming people of all backgrounds to participate in our society and civic dialogue.” Currently the artist is working on a monumental outdoor installation made from clay timbers at Casa Wabi, his studio and foundation in Oaxaca.
BOSCO SODI (B. 1971, México City) has exhibited his work internationally and throughout the United States. This past year, Sodi was the subject of two major museum exhibitions in México City: Por los siglos de los siglos, Museo Nacional de Arte and ELEMENTAL, at Museo Anahuacalli. Notable institutional exhibitions include Museum of Stones, The Noguchi Museum, New York (2015); and Pangea, Bronx Museum, New York (2010). His work is in significant public and private collections worldwide including JUMEX Collection, México; Vitra Museum, Switzerland; Contemporary Art Foundation, Japan; De la Cruz Collection, Puerto Rico; Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Connecticut; New Orleans Museum of Art, Louisiana; Des Moines Art Center, Iowa; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego.
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