Sperone Westwater Gallery New York opens the fall season with HEADS – a suite of new stainless steel sculptures by Not Vital that is complemented by a series of related drawings.
Vital developed this striking sculptural series in his studio in Beijing. The seven heads, all of a monochromatic palette, ranging from 4.5 to 6.2 feet in height, are pared down to simple contours, only two of the works depict specific sitters. The flawlessly smooth, metallic finish, created using cutting-edge technology, establishes an austere and commanding presence. Seemingly both human and machine-like, the sculptures occupy an uneasy middle ground, on occasion ambiguous and disconcerting.
The show suggests Vital’s fascination with the fast-paced, highly productive, and raw nature of industrial China today. The abstracted and simplified shapes, however, also recall the earliest forms of sculptural representation, such as the iconic carved Moai statues of Easter Island and the ancient sculptural forms of Asian religious art.
18 recent drawings, titled Everton, complement the sculptures of this exhibition. They were created in early 2014 in Rio de Janeiro and are repeated depictions of the same sitter, Everton. All of the drawings are rendered in either oilstick on paper or oilstick and tape on paper and finally becomes a meditation on the same subject, the human face.
Not Vital is born in Sent/ Switzerland and studied in Paris and Rome before moving to New York in 1974. He currently divides his time between Brazil, Chile, China, Niger and Switzerland. The artist’s work was featured in “Plateau of Humanity” at the 49th Venice Biennale and further at a number of museum exhibitions .