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The Galleries

Santa Monica

December 08, 1989|MARLENA DONOHUE

The German sculptor Eberhard Bosslet makes works from unaltered industrial materials arranged with elegance and conceptual complexity. They separate from current post modern objects intended to remind us that traditional art is dead. On the contrary, Bosslet enlivens industrial detritus by subjecting it to the rules of classical geometric art.

Bosslet arranges old file cabinet drawers so that they form three-dimensional rectangles. Bits of blond raw wood act as physical and visual buffers between drawers, tacky yellow industrial paint on facings acts as colored accents, and mechanical grooves cast in the metal become pure pictorial devices. Held together by flat metal strapping laced around drawers in equidistant bands, the structures form Mondrian arrangements executed with a cultivated sensitivity to chromatic and structural weights and balances.

He also composes tightly ordered, site specific "towers" that extend from the gallery floor to the ceiling rafters via long metal tubes set on rough hewn brick bases. Aping the look of weight bearing architecture, dotted with fake bolts and fittings meticulously staged but having no function, the towers address the myth of the machine, and force our awareness of the space they occupy.

Bosslet's queer objects never escape superficial associations with totems, sacred covenant arcs, secret maps, but at their core is a deeper interest in the concept of ordered work in all its manifestations. Brick and metal suggest the step by step drudgery of physical labor; file cabinets suggest bureaucratic labor; while the labor of making art, Bosslet seems to say, involves literally "pulling apart" the everyday and rearranging its components into some higher order of information. (Karl Bornstein, 1658 1/2 10th St., to Dec. 30.)

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