New York exhibits. Artist Serena Carone at Oko: That Which I see (Ce que je vois). September 26 – October 26, 2013. Opening: Thursday, September 26, 6-8pm. 220 East 10th Street, New York City.
Self-taught sculptor Serena Carone (b. 1958, Paris, France) has developed a painstaking work process and a uniquely personal iconography away from the public eye. Beginning September 26, 2013, Oko is pleased to present Serena Carone: That Which I See (Ce Que Je Vois), the first U.S. presentation of the artist’s work, offering a glimpse into her idiosyncratic and ingenious approach. The exhibition is the first in a series of three shows at Oko that will feature the work of emerging women artists from discrete disciplines, each with her own distinct aesthetic vision.
Serena Carone: That Which I See (Ce Que Je Vois), will remain on view through October 26th.
By intermingling themes of desire and death, innocence and latent violence, beauty and bestiality, Carone’s realistically rendered sculptures suggest open-ended narratives that draw upon childhood fantasies and nightmares. In Ce que je vois (2010), a set of human eyes pierces the wall of the gallery quite literally, while in Nid de chauves-souris (2012), a hundred porcelain bats hover near the ceiling and transform Oko’s small space into a theatrically haunted chamber. The poetic diorama Desperate Parakeets (2013) consists of a found birdcage in which two figurines – part parakeet, part human – are caught in suspended state of nuptial angst. A nearby tin pistol is embellished with religious ornaments (God’s Gun, 2009). All of Carone’s works seem indebted to the European tradition of devotional objects and religious fetishes. Not only is the artist able to emulate the psychological and material power of that tradition, but she she transforms it in works that are more secular and personal.
Other sculptures on view in the exhibition probe realms of dexterity and illusion as innate questions in figurative art. In Crying Woman (2010), real tears stream down the cheeks of a young woman whose bust forms the basin of a fountain – a wry nod to kitschy garden decor and also to the “miraculous” statues of weeping saints and the Virgin Mary. The uncanny effect of animation is echoed in Sleeping Woman (2013), a sculpture that recalls the ecstatic draped figure of Bernini’s Beata Ludovica Albertoni (1671-74). Carone’s supine woman appears to be asleep, the beating of her motorized heart alternately raising and lowering her chest.
In harking back to an array of seemingly disparate sources – from Roman funerary monuments and lavishly carved baroque saints, to the types of objects one encounters in artisanal markets – Carone revives sculptural traditions that have historically catered to the masses. In reconsidering varied images and icons, she underscores the value of their immediate appeal, and abets their efficacy in creeping upon and residing in the viewers’ consciousness.
Located in an East Village storefront, Oko (oko is the Russian-Polish word for ‘eye’) is a project space operated by Luxembourg & Dayan Gallery, curated by Alison Gingeras, and conceived as a venue for curatorial experimentation. Deliberately modest in scale, this ground floor venue in a typical tenement building on East Tenth Street draws its inspiration from the iconoclastic spirit of the neighborhood and the district’s history as an incubator for innumerable cultural breakthroughs.
Oko is open to the public Thursday through Saturday, from 12-6PM and by appointment.