Hobson’s Choice: Gabriel Kuri at Sadie Coles

12 March 2012 By
Gabriel Kuri at Sadie Coles, installation view, courtesy Sadie Coles HQ and the artist

Paul Hobson, Director of the Contemporary Art Society, recommends his favourite exhibition of the week.

1 March – 26 May 2012

Sadie Coles, 4 New Burlington Place, London W1S 2HS

Tuesday – Saturday, 11am – 6pm


Gabriel Kuri is a Mexican artist who has attracted international critical acclaim for his work exploring the nature and possibilities of sculpture.  His new show at Sadie Coles in New Burlington Place continues his playful approach to the sculptural potential of utilitarian and everyday forms, bringing together unexpected combinations of mass-manufactured and expendable ephemera in a new body of work.  Upstairs, there is a sequence of what are described as `abstract self-portraits’, along with a series of large wall-mounted sculptures modelled on hand-towel dispensers and downstairs, a small grouping of `platform’ sculptures.  Kuri’s sculptures often refer to the language of statistics or representations of data and this exhibition takes its title – Classical Symmetry, Historical Data, Subjective Judgment – from an essay by statistician, David Spiegelhalter in which he defines classical symmetry, historical data and subjective judgement as three fundamental bases for calculating the probability of an event; in this case, one speculates, the convergence of sculptural conditions?  Kuri’s use of materials is light of touch and full of humour, but also highly seductive.  In his abstract self-portraits, gold-coloured insulation foam, curved and looped into symmetrical shapes based on mathematical graphs and charts, is combined with objects or motifs that suggest body parts and functions: a polythene bag holding liquid which looks like urine, a conch shell secreted in the inner space of a vulva-shaped cavity, and so on.  Sexual undertones abound in this coy and alluring parade of forms, co-opting the dispensers opposite – not unwillingly – into a lavatorial situation by association.  A series of large match-like sculptures close by – some alert to possibility of ignition, others woefully spent – underline the double entendre.  Downstairs, the work shifts.  For those of you who saw Kuri’s exhibition at the South London Gallery at the end of last year, you will recognise sculptural forms combining panes of glass, concrete and plywood layered and set upright on wooden pallets, creating index and diagram-like assemblages, offering a counterpoint to the cheeky works upstairs.

(If you go, do also pop into Sarah Lucas’s small exhibition – Situation – which is just next door and complements the Kuri show perfectly.  This YBA seems to get better and better over time!)

Image: Gabriel Kuri, Classical Symmetry, Historical Data, Subjective Judgement, installation view, 2012. © the artist; courtesy Sadie Coles HQ

Let us know what you think at membership@contemporaryartsociety.org