THE CROWD (ST CYPRIAN CHURCH)
ST CYPRIAN CHURCH
Edel Assanti presented The Crowd, a five-day outdoor exhibition by Oren Pinhassi, held at St Cyprian's Church during Frieze London week. The spectacular Victorian church presents a dramatic context for a new body of work created by Pinhassi during his initial residency in London this summer.
The Crowd is made up of a group of freestanding sculptures that, on first impression, channel bodies: poking just above human height on slender legs, their slotted torsos suggest rib cages; bumps here and there are resolved in the composition such as feet, breasts or buttocks; the holes widen in their surfaces like the sockets of the eyes; panes of glass recede in the shadow of an arc like featureless faces. These initial signals give way to a pattern of erotic transmutation in which the object, the architecture and the body seamlessly flow with each other in a free association without borders.
Pinhassi's installations examine the relationship between the human figure and the built environment by conjuring evocative sites that intersect public and private interchange. Previous works explored bathhouses as spaces of vulnerability and sensuality, or places of cruising in nature as voyeuristic portals to erotic transformation. The sculptures in The Crowd invoke architectures of authority, incorporating features of artificial spaces designed to exert upon the individuals within them. The ceremonial setting of the Church of San Cipriano resonates through the sculptures with echoes of Gothic arches, pediments, altarpieces and the intimate space laden with confessionals. Citations from civic institutions are equally abundant: voting booths, segregation cells, institutional desks. The points of bureaucratic exchange are found in expressions of bodily desire, just as the windows involve receptive orifices.
Pinhassi's primary materials are gypsum and sand, methodically layered on welded steel skeletons. The visual sensitivity created by both the medium and the application is one of constructive ambiguity: the tactile surface advertises itself as handmade, yet the predominantly gray color and repetition of form in the group of sculptures evokes a specter of concrete modernism that is instantly belied by its voluptuousness. sensuality, urging us towards a futuristic hybridization logic. In contrast to the more architectural works there are several comparatively humanoid figures, if only because of their suggestive pastel pink coloring that guides us towards the interior space of the body.
The holes in the screens and torsos of the sculptures invite an opportunity for mediated communication. Pinhassi's new body of work questions the paradox of individual isolation in the age of hyperconnectivity. Despite their playful shapeshifting, Pinhassi's totemic figures are ultimately "alone together", lonely in their mutual separation. Physiologically linked to their own architectural constitutions, they invite us to question the environments we create as prisms through which the human experience is channeled and remodeled.