Bureau is pleased to announce the first one-person show in New York of artist Lionel Maunz,
Wail Eternal Scorn of Geologic.
Maunz’s installation comprises four major sculptural works which combine an attention to material that is as meticulously detailed as it is ambitiously architectural. The individual works set a scene that develops Maunz’s narrative: a tragic allegory of decay and dispersal as ruinous liberation. The total installation evokes a dark, catastrophic setting, while the fabrication of the works points to a deep attention to the rituals of their making. A modeled, geological overhang sets a sombre and subterranean scene and forms a shelter for a chaotic and destroyed mine shaft below. The collapsed mine situates Maunz’s destroyed environment: a locus of total material failure.
The mine shaft delivers the viewer to the locus of Maunz’s allegory, where a concentrated yellow sculpture cast in sulphur which sits opposing a massive and majestic black ziggurat-like statue. The black inanimate monolith, surfaced in small beads rolled by hand, is at once meticulous and primally geological: it appears to bubble forth with perfectly modeled dense black pustules. For Maunz this form represents the golem. The cast sulfur sculpture glistens with tones of toxic yellow, lying prostrate beneath its golem. Here the rabbi is fused with the archetype of the leper as the mineral qualities of sulfur are seen by Maunz to be as antithetical and hostile to life as the membranous disintegration of the leper. Both are catalysts for upheaval: leper and the sulfur symbolically encourage struggle and a rupture in the ego’s postponement of the end. Towering over the yellow figure, the golum exists as a symbol of the ultimate triumph of the non-biological.
Magnificently designed and executed, the sculptures are made using epoxy clays, resins and sulfur crystals along with organic materials such as hair, mosses, and earth. Maunz’s practice is centered on a complex of narratives and theoretical ideas from philosophy, mythology and theology. His interest stems from his own
experience wrestling with the ideas and practices of postwar American incarnations of theosophy and the occult, and crystallizes in his study of Bataille, Sade and Artaud.
For Maunz, “the golem myth with its anti-uterine logic, represents the fantasy of anal birth. The attempt to inhabit an anti-cosmic perspective which is perpetually outside, adversarial and unknowable; an incendiary apparatus that simultaneously consummates and ruins. As a fantasy of auto-genesis, the golem is the wrathful desire for ceaseless becoming and the incarnate loss of a tragic communication between subject and object.”
Lionel Maunz was born in 1976 and received his BFA and MFA from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. He had solo exhibitions in Dallas and has participated in group exhibitions including ‘Mirror Me’ with Kai Althoff and Brandon Stosuy at Dispatch, NY, ‘Us and Them’ at MRFA, NY among others. He lives and works in Brooklyn.
Bureau is open to the public Thursday - Sunday 12 - 6 p.m., and by appointment.