This fall, The Contemporary Austin features its first ever monographic exhibition outside of its 14-acre sculpture park, the Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park at Laguna Gloria, 3809 West 35th Street in Austin, Texas. Carol Bove is on view November 18, 2017, through November 2018 and includes new and recent outdoor sculptures arranged in a grassy meadow on the sculpture park grounds.
Inspired by industrial landscapes and materials, the work of the artist Carol Bove (American, born 1971 in Geneva, Switzerland) interrogates sculptural vocabulary and strategies of display. Works from the 1990s and early 2000s are domestically scaled: fabricated concrete and steel rest alongside found materials including feathers, seashells, and rare books installed on precisely mounted shelves. Increasingly, Bove has turned toward large-scale steel sculpture assemblages of new and found elements that are alternately raw and finished.
For this museum’s first monographic exhibition of a single artist at Laguna Gloria, The Contemporary Austin presents an outdoor exhibition of newly commissioned and recent large-scale sculptures by Bove, the artist’s first exhibition in Austin in a decade. Here, Bove interprets the classical sculpture garden, reinventing it as a multitude of abstract forms in varying shapes, colors, and scales. Anchoring the installation is From the Sun to Zurich, 2016, a white, spray-painted steel tube sculpture Bove refers to as a “glyph,” suggesting a cosmological spiral, an ancient hieroglyphic language, or a wayward noodle. Also featured is an upright minimalist grid—installed as if the last remaining freestanding wall of a home were precariously abandoned—as well as a pair of collaged abstract steel forms in vivid colors such as cyan and yellow.
Sited in the lower meadow, the exhibition requires visitors to first approach the sculptures from a distance, generating a gradually decreasing perspective. The initial vantage point captures fragments of the forms peeking through the treetops and gaps in the woods; as the viewer nears, the objects’ size and formal qualities are revealed. The contemplative space of her installation reveals an equilibrium among elements—an etymological assemblage that allows for a poetic language of the parts within the whole to emerge.