Friday August 11, Hans Alf Gallery invites everyone to join the opening of Adam Parker Smith's new exhibition "1.2.3.".
The exhibition brings together a new series of sculptures in marble and bronze by acclaimed American sculptor Adam Parker Smith, transforming the main gallery space into a site for an exploration of the ancient human body and psyche. This equally absurd and meticulous framework follows Smith’s recent outdoor installation at San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, California, and marks his second exhibition with Hans Alf Gallery after his debut in 2021.
With different elevations, embraced by the gallery’s monochromatic grey flooring and white walls, the marble sculptures, contorted and folded, encapsulate the idea of commodification and simplification. Carefully hand-carved in white Italian Carrara marble, each cube turns an iconic classical sculpture, such as the lovers of Mars and Venus, on their head. With their limbs entangled, the free-standing sculpture of the two Roman Gods has been reduced to an almost unrecognizable geometric, auto-erotic cube. Their smooth, solid surface attests to the raw materiality, but also evokes an intriguing illusionistic effect. The blending of the hard material with the distorted body parts makes a unique contrast, at once sensitive and monumental.
By also stacking the cubes, as proposed by the sequential numbering in the exhibition’s title, 1.2.3., Smith suggests an inherent organization, or “taxonomy” as he calls it, implying a systematic approach to categorizing and cataloging ancient artifacts.
Looking both backwards into ancient history, and simultaneously gazing into the future, the sculptures seem, at times, prophetic. They are not just about the iconic, classical sculptures that they seamlessly paraphrase, but the Western world’s dreams and nightmares in a late capitalist age of upheaval.
In juxtaposition to the marbles, the exhibition features two bronze sculptures and four lifelike aluminum takes of the Corinthian Spartan helmet, in contrasting colors: verdigris green, red, highly polished aluminum and gold. Together, the works on display further Smith's enduring ambition to combine weight with lightness and perpetuate the ephemeral. Smith's “creations” are phantasmagorias that form an inseparable whole, constantly shifting between stages of decay and resilience, desire and confinement, the minimal and the monumental, likeness and remembrance, hopelessness, fear, and the power to growth - thus emblematic of the polarities of existence.
Adam Parker Smith (b. 1978) holds an MFA in painting from Tyler School of Art in Pennsylvania. Working in different materials, such as solid resin, urethane, bronze, and marble, Smith fashions familiar objects that are often made to appear inflated and dispensable. His sculptures, in the manner of readymades, are universally accessible and quietly satiric, capturing levity within their quotidian subjects. Smith’s work has been presented at national and international institutions, most recently at San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, California; The Brooklyn Museum, New York, US and The Times Museum, China.
"1.2.3." opens August 11 and will be on view through September 9.