fledge capable of flying, from Middle English flegge, from Old English -flycge; akin to Old High German flucki capable of flying,
Old English flEogan to fly -- more at FLY
intransitive verb, of a young bird : to acquire the feathers necessary for flight or independent activity

Monday, April 8, 2013

cLAy: City of Clay-ngels

What if somebody said you could have as much modeling clay as you wanted and you could make whatever you wanted to with it. I would say, "Yes, please!" What if you asked your teenage son that question and he said, "Uh, well, um..." I would take that as a "Yes, please!" and run away quickly to make a timely rsvp before he can protest.

Let Go by Frou Frou on Grooveshark

Urs Fischer is a conceptual artist that likes to go big! He once removed the entire floor of an important New York gallery, all the pipes and conduit and veins and arteries that lie beneath the marble and dug a big hole of dirt. Inside a gallery. A. Big. Hole. Of. Dirt. Big sculptures, big paintings, big thoughts. Or maybe lots of little thoughts. And then make them big, like when he made teeny tiny sculptures and made giant photographs of them. Like this (taken from Garage Magazine).

NW: What is the problem in the Problem Paintings?

UF: It’s just funny. It’s just a name. Any problem functions because it occupies the center of your existence, no? It obstructs.

NW: And what’s the “painting” side? There isn’t much paint either, in the traditional way.

UF: But who cares about the traditional way? Problems are omnipresent in everyone’s life; they are everything from the best motor to do something to the biggest obstructer. Problems are amazing.

"Problems are amazing." Right on. One of the things I like to say is, "Everybody's got problems. I got problems. And my problems are good problems to have."

Together with the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Urs Fischer has invited the people of this city to sculpt clay in whatever way they want. The sculptures will be displayed beginning April 21st at MOCA. The clay sculptures will not be fired in anyway. They will dry and flake and crack and break and decay. 


I do not want to make any assumptions about what exactly Urs Fischer will be exploring, but he has made a series of LIFE-SIZE, highly detailed sculptures from wax, that he melts. Kind of like figurine candles of office chairs, Renaissance statues and middle-aged men. The result is macabre, but beautiful in the organic forms. So, I'm thinking Urs Fischer is inviting all of us to play with the idea of things decaying and falling apart.

In addition to playing in as much clay as we wanted, it was such an experience to be a tourist in this grey land of fantasy, realism, humor, tragedy and grace. Like stepping into a 3-D black and white photo.



A horse using a rotary phone.


A giant (myopic?) rat with mice crawling all over it and a tummy chamber full of cheese.


A frog with teeth and a drinking problem.


And speaking of drinking problems. I'm wondering if the artist was sitting there going, "Man, all the good ideas are taken! All that's left is a water fountain!" That thing makes me laugh everytime I think about it.


And this one is social commentary on violence among carbohydrates? Bagels vs. Doughnuts?


Who's the alien in this clay world? He or I?


I like to think this one is called, "Okay, Ishmael, now what?"


Clay, clay, clay everywhere! This disembodied hand grasping from an alternate clay universe into ours.


Clay mop. Clay bucket.

Oh, yes, I made something too. A strange trio:


A cyclops rabbit, with one tentacle and a dragon tail.


A ghoulish owl with tree trunk horns.


And a fairy frog with butterfly wings.


This is cool.


And here's a head that is already falling apart, finding that beauty in the breakdown.


This is "LOVE". Can you still recognize the love while it breaks down? Ever been there? Done that?


And this: This is an enclosed, round igloo-like wall, probably eight feet in diameter ...


... with a tiny little man on a tiny little couch with a tiny little beer and a tiny little expression on his face inside.

And the son, yea, he made a wave with a shaka hand. 'Cause he's Jack, brah. He didn't complain and I think he even liked being there. But that's just between us.



Thank you, Herr Fischer, for all the clay and the chance to be a part of this.


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