MELODRAMA is an exhibition in two acts taking place between Luxembourg & Dayan's London and New York gallery spaces. The show includes six sculptures, a series of photographs, and one video that together function as characters in a melodramatic play. Cloaked under commonplace appearances, the works perform dramatic attitudes, generate heightened emotions, and radiate pathos.
Act 2: New York. Vincenzo Gemito's 19th century wax Portrait of Giuseppe Verdi will face off against Jeff Koons' Italian Woman, a stainless steel rendering of the risqué character Lucia Mondella from Alessandro Manzoni's 1827 novel The Betrothed. Engaged in silent dialogue, these busts proclaim a lingering drama since departed; Verdi's operatics and Mondella's seduction are preserved, though perhaps vacated. Another duet follows: Urs Fischer's Foxtrot—a chair held by disembodied hands—plays counterpoint to Richard Serra's Hand Catching Lead, which chronicles the artist's repeated attempts to clasp pieces of lead as they plummet past him. In a crossing of two-and three-dimensional media, the uncanny, suspended stillness of Fischer's sculpture is cut through by the gravitational momentum of Serra's film—instigating a movement between grounding and uncertainty.
Meanwhile in London, from June 24th through August 20th, Pino Pascali's Coda di Delfino seems to have already escaped the gallery through the wall and Maurizio Cattelan's Untitled, a taxidermied horse, follows Pascali's dolphin with a leap of its own. Fischli & Weiss' black rubber Heart expresses the impossibility of moving—much like a character in one of Samuel Beckett's plays—and Franco Vimercati's photographs of a soup terrine transform a domestic object into a melancholic, timeless diva.
MELODRAMA was conceived in collaboration with curator Francesco Bonami with the aim to examine structures of exaggerated narratives and performativity in the medium of sculpture. Following the gallery's recent survey of Alberto Giacometti's pre-war sculptures in London, and a show of César's works from the 1960's in New York, MELODRAMA is the third exhibition in Luxembourg & Dayan's season of sculptural investigations, a project that traces the blurry line that lies between materiality and imagination in the realm of sculpture.