Simon Preston Gallery is delighted to present Michelle Lopez’ fourth exhibition at the gallery, a new sculptural installation comprising of an intricate framework of interlocking steel rope, wrapped lead scaffolding and suspended glass columns. Continuing the artist’s interest in the tension of deflated forms, this fragile House of Cards is at once tenuous and impoverished, re-imagining by hand the apparatus intended for real estate construction, and imbuing these often subsidiary forms with collapse and entropy.
Lopez has evolved her leaning wall sculpture towards a free-standing, Arte Povera-inspired assemblage that is materially defiant and contradictory. In this instance, twisted rope becomes the structural element that supports the larger whole, defying gravity to support metal scaffolding that leans tentatively against it. Elsewhere, found material such as rubble hints at slingshot street protests, fragments of urban decay that, ironically, provide essential support to the work.
The installation assembles many of Lopez’ prior inquiries of material and conceptual themes, questioning the status of objects, in which wilting throne structures and suspended chandeliers are reduced to outlines. Yet, at its core, the work reflects the hand: the rope is twisted manually by the artist, the glass is pulled, and the scaffolding wrapped in lead, implicating the body in every gesture.
Referencing, while contradicting, one of Richard Serra’s iconic works, Lopez’ House of Cards plays within an act of disappearance. The work defies its image in the same manner that Serra proposes, but without its immense weight. The deftness of the installation responds to a maladroit confusion of current events and, in re-working familiar materials with a Giacometti-style verticality, takes on a vocabulary of bankruptcy and demise, while imbuing forms with resilience and strength.