Alain Kirili “Who’s Afraid of Verticality?”

Susan Inglett Gallery

poster for Alain Kirili “Who’s Afraid of Verticality?”

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Susan Inglett Gallery presents a solo exhibition with Alain Kirili, Who’s Afraid of Verticality? Gallery II will feature paintings by Shaun O’Dell, a pairing rooted in the artists’ shared appreciation for the music and rhythms of jazz.

Who’s Afraid of Verticality? is comprised of eight hand-forged iron and copper sculptures. Demonstrative of Alain Kirili’s lifelong fascination with verticality, the selection traces an investigation of the subject in abstract sculpture and exhibits a subtle drive for aesthetic diversity. For five decades, the artist has cultivated a practice that embeds a formalist rigor with a humanist warmth. The exhibition is marked by an appreciation for abstract signs in three-dimensional space, one which spurs a dialogue with high relief that Kirili views as being a celebration of life, or la joie de vivre.

Alluding to sculptor Alberto Giacometti’s The Forest, the seven iron and copper floor sculptures seen here stand erect, like artisanal topiaries in a “vertical forest.” A raw material tactility emerges from the hammered metal along with a diversity of aesthetic gesture that resists a machine-made uniformity, privileging the idiosyncratic. The “live” bases of these sculptures further refuse homogeneity; for instance, the base of Adam III is made of Hydrocal and Forge of coal. Iron and plaster, coal and iron; the incongruous materiality of these parts reveal the influence of yoni and lingam, Hindu masculine and feminine sculptural elements that harmoniously converge in a symbiotic relationship. Like flesh on bones, the base does not function as a support for, what the artist calls, the “vertical” but as an essential unit that completes it.

Alain Kirili is a French-American sculptor born in 1946 in Paris, France. He lives and works in New York City. He has had solo museum exhibitions with the Musée de l’Orangerie, Paris; the Musée Rodin, Paris; and the Brooklyn Museum. Kirili has been included in group exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; MoMA P.S. 1, New York; the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, D.C.; and the Jardin du Palais-Royal, Paris. His work can be found in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Centre Pompidou; The Jewish Museum, New York; and the Nasher Sculpture Center among others.

Shaun O’Dell was born in 1968 in Beeville, Texas and lives and works in San Francisco, California. He is a graduate of Stanford University’s MFA Program and has exhibited both nationally and internationally appearing at dOCUMENTA(13), Kassel; The A Foundation, Liverpool; Berkley Art Museum, Berkley; CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art, San Francisco and San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco. His work can be found in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and the de Young Museum, San Francisco.



from September 12, 2019 to October 19, 2019

Opening Reception on 2019-09-12 from 18:00 to 20:00


Alain Kirili

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