The mineral is not only radically inhuman, it is the absence of biological life.
It is the purest form of universal negation. -Octavio Paz, 'An erotic beyond: Sade'.
For his second one-person show at Bureau, Lionel Maunz builds upon the allegories introduced in his 2010 exhibition, presenting a suite of new sculptural works and related drawings. Mapping the points of a complex series of catalytic movements, the works can be deciphered as matrices running from celestial to the geological: models of penetration into the inhuman, mineral realm. Maunz, between these extremities, works obsessively through a vocabulary of myth and symbol with his deeply disciplined, and intricate practice.
A single large work will occupy the gallery. Built up in several layers, its foundation is a scale model - a topographical map revealing a vast subterranean shelter system. For Maunz, this architecture represents an originary descent into the hostile, inhuman, geological world. Re-constructed from the artist's own memory, the topography gives insight into the Maunz's unique experience as a young person with the underground occult – both literally and figuratively. The sculpture's central element features a large bright iridescent form, a geological body: the principle of reductive focus. This stunning, glistening form, both alien and crystalline, rests sealed and incased in a vitrine on top of which lays a system of objects as if excavated from a grave plot. An ordered display of black tools, gems and talismans are arranged along a deformed vertebral axis.
Next door, three beautifully delicate and complex sculptures – spine-like towers built up along geometric joints and conduits – reveal a lattice of personal semiotics. Inverted pyramids, biological objects (a child's hand, the artist's foot), cones of cast soil, bubbling stalagtites and cast pewter follow in succession. Layers of crystalline forms, propagate and degrade, in a kind of hyper-pulsation of material invention. The constructions are densely laden with symbolic meaning but also invite aesthetic fascination and awe. Maunz includes several instances of material self-referentiality achieved through generative castings of discrete pieces. A stack of progressively deformed models from the original shelter architecture shows the artist's interest in the replicative and degenerative potential of sculpture. These pieces are wholistic expressions of the artist's ideas, evoking a vertical line from a cosmic space and penetrating the strata of earth and mineral.
Lionel Maunz was born in 1976 and received his BFA and MFA from the Southern Methodist University in Dallas TX. His first solo exhibition at Bureau NY 'Wail Eternal Scorn of Geologic' was held in 2010. In 2009 he was a participating artist in 'Mirror Me' organized by Kai Althoff and Brandon Stosuy at Dispatch NY, and is included in its 'zine published by Primary Information. Selected exhibitions include MRFA, NYC; Cynthia Broan Gallery, NYC; Barristers Gallery, New Orleans; C.R.E.A.M. projects Brooklyn, and several exhibition in Dallas TX. He lives in Brooklyn.
127 Henry Street
between Rutgers & Pike
F Train to East Broadway
Wednesday - Sunday, 11 - 6 p.m., and by appointment.