28-06-07

 Christoph Broich, 'Voluptuous Panic' at Envoy, New York

5 July thru 4 August 2007 Tue thru Sat 11-6

Over the past two years, Christoph Broich has received international attention with sculptural installations that have come to stand for a willful sensitivity to the body and mortality. His work is a manifestation of the complex and unquiet correlation between life and work, material and concept.

In his Kopf (Head) series, the artist successfully expands his visual vocabulary by creating a cohesive environment around a single element, the head. Cut up iconic items of clothing and fabric are collaged onto busts and then painted with several coats of latex. Upon completion, as with all of Broich’s meticulously made sculptures, the bust is destroyed and the shell (skin) is all that remains. Broich’s skinned sculptures focus on deterioration and present the reversal of the natural process: skin and flesh decomposing first and the skeleton remaining. Suspended from the ceiling, the heads create an eerie field of beheaded individuals.


Inspired by Weimar bacchanalia, his most recent work, Voluptuous Panic (the title is taken from Mel Gordon's book on Weimar Berlin), invites the viewer to become part of the action. Understanding the importance of absence as well as presence in the deployment of his sculpted elements within a real space, Broich proves to be a master at orchestration and placement.

Spatially isolated through perspectival techniques, curious manipulated, cast characters populate the weirdly decadent environment. The choice of mannequins, empty, non-threatening 'everyone' figures is deliberate, its effect one of alienation.


Choreographed single and multiple groups of characters, seated or lying on the counter of a bar or nightclub, are enmeshed in an emotional confrontation with an unspecified narrative. At one end of the counter, a protagonist’s Siamese body curves back in spontaneous recoil. Each posture and gesture suggesting urgency and concern, tension and empathy. At the other end, a figure leans forward, as if wanting to move out of the drama, but its inability to move seems to frustrate the desire to act. All of the characters in Voluptuous Panic sustain a bland look. They stare into emptiness as they lean on enigmatic moments frozen in space and time, a singular, inexplicable silent moment.

 

Christoph Broich was born in Stadt Blankenberg, Germany. He graduated from The Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, Belgium in 1994. The artist had his first exhibition at envoy with “Never Mind The Bollocks: Here’s Amanda Lear,” in April 2006. This is the artist’s first solo exhibition in New York. (text: Enoy)

 

Lara, wo bist du, a video and performance project that started in 1993 will be featured at Unisex Salon at the Delancey on July 5th. Check http://envoy.typepad.com/ for details.

 

envoy . 131 Chrystie Street . New York . NY 10002 . 212.226.4555 . www.envoygallery.com

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