Barbara Chase-Riboud: Avatars at Fondation d’entreprise Hermès, La Verrière, September 25 – December 5, 2020

For the fifth exhibition in the cycle “Matters of Concern | Matières à panser” at La Verrière, the Brussels art space of the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès, curator Guillaume Désanges presents “Avatars”, a solo exhibition by American artist Barbara Chase-Riboud.

“Based in Paris since 1960, American artist Barbara Chase-Riboud has developed a career of extraordinary creativity and productivity, as a novelist, poet, sculptor and draughtswoman, investing each practice with the same intensity, and always to universal acclaim. In the field of visual art, she is noted for her imposing series of bronze sculptures with ropes of silk or wool, drawing on a vast spectrum of sources from modernist abstraction to classical statuary, textiles, baroque art and vernacular African or Oceanian sculpture. The strange, faceless figures – part totems, fetish-figures or monuments – are forged from intricate combinations of materials that generate a subtle interplay of sheen, opacity and chromatic density enshrined in the ‘flesh’ of the material itself. Created partly by chance, partly by necessity, the striking combination of crumpled metal and minutely detailed woven components imbues the figures with a stylistic ambiguity reminiscent of Louise Nevelson, Barbara Hepworth, John Chamberlain, or certain works by Terry Adkins, not forgetting Auguste Rodin, Umberto Boccioni or Alberto Giacometti. Barbara Chase-Riboud is a free spirit, guided by intuition, by her own desires and impulses, and by the possibilities of her raw materials, working outwith the strictures of an overly circumscribed aesthetic or theoretical programme. Her gestures are directed by the acuity of her gaze and the physicality of things, taking a chance on the capacity of form to ‘realise’ itself. The resulting, hybrid sculptural forms combine elegance and savagery, power and fragility, stasis, presence and mobility.” — From the text by Guillaume Désanges

Barbara Chase-Riboud, Zanzibar, 1970, bronze and silk ropes,
270 × 81 × 49 cm, FNAC 10323, Centre national des arts plastiques
© Rights reserved / Cnap. Photo © Fabrice Lindor.
Barbara Chase-Riboud, Little Black Flag, 2007, bronze with black
patina, silk, wool with steel support, 157.5 × 97.8 × 45.7 cm,
courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, New York (New York,
United States) © Barbara Chase-Riboud.
Barbara Chase-Riboud, Poet Walking His Dog, 1994, unique bronze casts, rope, wax medallions,
graphite and crayon on paper on Corten steel shelf, 115.6 × 124.5 × 25.4 cm, courtesy of
Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, New York (New York, United States) © Barbara Chase-Riboud.
Barbara Chase-Riboud, Malcolm X #16, 2016, bronze with red patina, silk,
wool, polished cotton, synthetic fibers with steel support,
233.7 × 81.3 × 76.2 cm, courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC,
New York (New York, United States) © Barbara Chase-Riboud.
Barbara Chase-Riboud, La Musica Red #4, 2003, bronze with red patina and silk,
76.2 × 38.1 × 81.3 cm, courtesy of the artist © Barbara Chase-Riboud.
Barbara Chase-Riboud, Harrar/Middle Passage, circa 1973, marble
and synthetic fibers, courtesy of the artist © Barbara Chase-Riboud.
Barbara Chase-Riboud, Zanzibar Table Gold, 1972, polished bronze, silk and
linen, 38.7 × 33.0 × 32.4 cm, courtesy of the artist © Barbara Chase-Riboud.
Barbara Chase-Riboud, Mandela Monument, Capetown, 1996,
charcoal, charcoal pencil, ink with engraving and aquatint on paper,
80 × 60.3 cm, courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC,
New York (New York, United States) © Barbara Chase-Riboud.
Barbara Chase-Riboud, Anna Akhmatova Monument, St. Petersburg,
1996, charcoal, charcoal pencil, ink with engraving and aquatint
on paper, 80 × 60.3 cm, courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC,
New York (New York, United States) © Barbara Chase-Riboud.
Barbara Chase-Riboud, Monument to Man Ray’s The Enigma of Isidore
Ducasse Philadelphia, Penn. U.S.A., 1996, charcoal, charcoal pencil,
ink with engraving and aquatint on paper, 80 × 60.3 cm, courtesy of
Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, New York (New York, United
States) © Barbara Chase-Riboud.
Barbara Chase-Riboud, Marquis de Sade Monument, Charenton,
1997, charcoal, charcoal pencil, and ink with engraving and aquatint
on paper, 80 × 61 cm, courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC,
New York (New York, United States) © Barbara Chase-Riboud.
Portrait of Barbara Chase-Riboud, courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, New York
(New York, United States). Photo © Grant Delin.

Images courtesy Fondation d’entreprise Hermès, Brussels, Belgium.