New York artist Joel Shapiro’s sculptures suspended in mid-air at Pace London appear to defy gravity creating an unsettling effect which, as it turns out, is not entirely unmerited. Geometric in strong but subtle colours, they form striking and exhilarating combinations in the gallery.
Each time you look at one, it will tend to provide the foreground or background for another. But they are nonetheless separate. There is nothing human about these objects; their corners are sharp; their lines are hard. Their names provide little enlightenment about their meaning. Really Blue (after all), shown below I suspected was a reference to the process. Perhaps earlier it had been slightly blue. I liked it really blue. Yellow May seemed more bile green but I don’t think this had political allusions.They were in place before the election!
OK Green was a pleasant but indeterminate colour, but wasn’t it pale blue? No, perhaps not, and again such a debate must have resulted in the name it was given.
One of the pieces had a rather plain name – Orange. There was no debate about it. And Orange it certainly was. But perhaps that should change. By and large the wires that suspended the hanging pieces were unobtrusive yet visible. The eye took note that they were there and ignored them. Orange was different it was low hanging and, as it is positioned in a bizarre and intriguing angle, naturally, you are tempted to walk round it.
I did so and suddenly tripped but recovered; there was a wire about knee-height tethering it to the floor; the wires that are plain to see in the air, fail to show up against the parquet. About ten minutes later my companion also attempted to walk round Orange, tripped and fell headlong on the floor. Orange wobbled alarmingly as though laughing. Perhaps there was a human element to them after all. It needed, we decided a less plain name, Dangerous Orange? or Trickster Orange. On the way out we noticed a small sign cautioning trip hazard. Tripster Orange would be perfect.
Joel Shapiro will be at Pace London, 6 Burlington Gardens, London W1S, until 17 June