“The constraints of melodrama can be a great blessing, because they demand that all the characters involved – as absurd and extreme as they may initially seem – must stay utterly rooted in their own reality, or the whole project collapses.” – Stanley Tucci
A new exhibition in two acts, ‘MELODRAMA’ is taking place between Luxembourg & Dayan’s London and New York galleries. The show includes seven sculptures and a series of photographs that function as characters in a melodramatic play. Cloaked under commonplace appearances, the works perform dramatic attitudes, generate heightened emotions, and pervade pathos into the gallery space.
Act I: London. Pino Pascali’s ‘fake sculpture’ Coda di Delfino (1966) seems to have already escaped the gallery into the wall leaving nothing more than a trace of its tail. Maurizio Cattelan’s Untitled, taxidermied horse (2007) follows Pascali’s dolphin with a leap of its own, into the opposite wall of the gallery. The plot thickens with Fischli & Weiss’s inanimate black rubber Heart (1987), which lies still on a pedestal, hidden and overlooked like a character in one of Beckett’s plays; the show, however, must go on. Finally, a series of meticulous photographs by Franco Vimercati from his Ciclo Zuppiera (1983) generate, as the saying goes, ‘a storm in a tea cup’. These black and white photographs of a soup terrine transform a domestic object into a tragic and melancholic timeless diva.
In New York from 14 July – 17 September, the scene is set with Vincenzo Gemito’s 19th Century bronze bust placed in an unpredictable dialogue with a Jeff Koons cast bronze sculpture. At the same time, Urs Fischer faces a work by Richard Serra, each experimenting with weight and balance – a solid grounding facing precarious uncertainty. End of Act Two.
MELODRAMA was conceived in collaboration with curator Francesco Bonami with the aim to examine structures of exaggerated narratives and performativity in the medium of sculpture. Following the gallery’s recent survey of Alberto Giacometti’s pre-war sculptures in London, and a show of César’s works from the 1960’s in New York, MELODRAMA is the third exhibition in Luxembourg & Dayan’s season of sculptural investigations, a project that traces the blurry line that lies between materiality and imagination in the realm of sculpture.