Reena Spaulings exhbition: The Belgian Marbles

Past exhibition

The Belgian Marbles



Reena Spaulings

Sutton Lane presents The Belgian Marbles by Reena Spaulings. For her second show with the gallery, Spaulings has produced an installation of new works on paper, marble sculptures and modified yoga mats. This is the artist’s first appearance in Brussels, and the first in a series of Sutton Lane exhibitions here. During last year’s Art Basel Miami fair, in the depths of the recession panic, Spaulings spent some business- free moments photographing the shadows of palm trees outside the Raleigh Hotel. These images appear here as lithographic prints and are layered with the scanned pages of a Reena Spaulings Fine Art gallery sign-in book. Combining traditional and inkjet printing, the resulting works on paper (A Place in the Sun (Shadows)) partially obscure the signatures of New York gallery goers under one or several “shadows.”

A series of marble works were produced in collaboration with Josef Dalle Nogare, an art collector who happens to own a quarry and marble company in Verona, Italy. Trading artworks for materials and production with Dalle Nogare; Spaulings considers this exchange an integral aspect of the sculptures on view. As with the prints (co-signed by Spaulings colleagues, friends, collectors and competitors), the artist/gallerist finds ways of extracting material images from the specific economies and relationships in which she is implicated.

Radiators 1 – 3 are simplified, scale replicas of heating units that had previously been installed in the renovated apartment where Sutton Lane’s Brussels project is based. When the gallery removed several of the unsightly units to free up more space for art, Spaulings decided to re-install three versions of these in marble. The connecting pipes and unpainted walls where the rest of the missing heaters once stood have been left intact. The space is now without heat.

At the rear of the gallery, an outdoor, recreational deck overlooks a garden. Here, two additional marbles – Mollusk (Portoro) and Mollusk (Rosa Portogallo) – have been installed. Precise copies of a surfboard purchased at a cultish surf shop (Mollusk) in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, these Brancusi-esque works lean casually against the wall, far from any waves. Flopped on the floor, melted with a heat gun, and sometimes draped over framed prints, five yoga mats supply a colorful connecting tissue between the works on paper and the marbles.

The Belgian Marbles re-activates the specific geographical displacements and social networks through which Spaulings’ practice elaborates itself. Displayed as mute forms and colorized images, these socio-economic conditions now become a decor designed for the city of Brussels (in some ways the latest hope for an art market attempting to recover some vitality in a time of downturn). Like the Elgin marbles presently housed in London, these works are between one place and another, momentarily immobilized as their various destinies are being negotiated.