The sun rises under the pillar of your tongue is a group show featuring Rinella Alfonso, Lynda Benglis, Enzo Cucchi, Rezi van Lankveld, Alina Szapocznikow and Erika Verzutti. Converging painting and sculpture, the show considers the poetics of form and the inextricable entanglement of body and memory. The artists in the show, selected by Rezi van Lankveld and Emma Robertson, explore an intuitive and visceral relationship between painting and sculpture, oscillating between abstraction, figuration and symbolism.
Rinella Alfonso’s paintings foreground objects from everyday life within completely original and oftentimes stark fantasy worlds. She recurrently takes inspiration from memories of her home in Curaçao. Her latest works feature traces of a bra, piercings, a golden tooth or a hairy couch, elements that are deeply rooted in her culture. Using the formal structures of painting, Alfonso constructs poetic, abstract channels between memory and fiction, communicating new realities that speak in an imaginative and transformative language.
Lynda Benglis was first recognised in the late sixties with her poured latex and foam works. Benglis’s work created a perfectly timed retort to the male dominated fusion of painting and sculpture with the advent of Process Art and Minimalism. Known for her exploration of metaphorical and biomorphic shapes, she is deeply concerned with the physicality of form and how it affects the viewer, using a wide range of materials to render dynamic impressions of mass and surface: soft becomes hard, hard becomes soft and gestures are frozen.
In the late 1970s, Enzo Cucchi became one of the leading figures of Transavanguardia, a name coined by critic Achille Bonito Oliva to define the reintroduction of figuration into painting and sculpture, as a reaction to minimalism and conceptual rigour. Cucchi’s installations are made of diverse materials in which the image – whether painted, sculpted, or drawn – always maintains a primary role. For Cucchi, painting, sculpture and drawing are the means necessary to externalise his own inner reality, a direct line to his own subconscious; his images belong to a poetic universe that often allude to the everyday world and its culture.
Rezi van Lankveld has become known for paintings that centre on the process of depiction, its absence and presence. With a distinctive approach based upon improvisation, her works find their moments of completion when her exploration of paint builds sufficiently to sustain figuration. Imagery is as much evoked as signified, with the act of making not only subject but content. Van Lankveld’s work has unfolded at an insistently modest scale. Shifting palettes contain consistency, as if the decades of practice were all one continuous work.
A sculptor who began working during the post-war period in a classical figurative style, Alina Szapocznikow radically reconceptualised sculpture as an imprint not only of memory but also of her own body. Though her career effectively spanned less than two decades (cut short by the artist’s premature death in 1973 at age 47), Szapocznikow left behind a legacy of provocative objects that evoke Surrealism, Nouveau Réalisme, and Pop art. Her tinted polyester casts of body parts, often transformed into everyday objects like lamps or ashtrays; her poured polyurethane forms; and her elaborately constructed sculptures, which at times incorporated photographs, clothing, or car parts, all remain as wonderfully idiosyncratic and culturally resonant today as when they were first made.
Sensuous and tactile, Erika Verzutti’s sculptures often seem to sit outside of period and place, conjuring relics or archaeological finds. Realised in bronze, concrete and papier mâché, they draw from a range of sources – from vegetables and household objects to newspaper clippings and imagery found online. They take a playfully omnivorous approach to art history, quoting and reimagining works that stretch from Brancusi to Brazilian modernism, or from Picasso back to the palaeolithic.
Rinella Alfonso (b. 1995 in Willemstad, Curaçao) lives and works in Amsterdam, NL. She received her BFA from the Royal Academy of Art (KABK), The Hague, and recently completed a residency at De Ateliers, Amsterdam. She is the recent winner of the prestigious Royal Award for Painting, The Netherlands. Her works have previously been exhibited at Project Native Informant, London; Magic Stop, Lausanne; Park View / Paul Soto, LA; La Maison de Rendez-Vous, Brussels and Octagon, Milan.
Lynda Benglis (b. 1941, Lake Charles, Louisiana) lives and works in New York, Santa Fe, USA and Ahmedabad, India. Selected institutional solo exhibitions include: In the Realm of the Senses, Museum of Cycladic Art, presented by NEON, Athens, Greece (2019); Lynda Benglis: Face Off, Kistefos-Museet, Jevnaker, Norway (2018); Lynda Benglis: Secrets, Bergen Assembly, KODE Art Museums of Bergen, Norway (2016); Lynda Benglis, Aspen Art Museum, Aspen CO (2016); Lynda Benglis: Water Sources, Storm King Art Center, Mountainville, New York NY (2015); Lynda Benglis, The Hepworth Wakefield, West Yorkshire, England (2015); and Lynda Benglis: Figures, The SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah GA (2012), among many others. Selected public collections include: Tate, London, England; Dallas Museum of Art TX; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago IL; Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles CA; The Museum of Modern Art, New York NY; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York NY; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia, among many others.
Enzo Cucchi (b. 1949, Morro d’Alba) lives and works in Rome. Since the 1970s, Cucchi has presented numerous solo exhibitions in institutions worldwide. Among these stand out the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1983), The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (1986), Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (1986), Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, München (1987), Wiener Secession, Vienna (1988), Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg (1992), Castello di Rivoli, Turin (1993), Sezon Museum of Art, Tokyo (1996), Deichtorhallen Hamburg, Hamburg (1999), Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv (1999 and 2001), and Villa Medici, Rome (2006).
Rezi van Lankveld (1973 Almelo, NL) studied at the Jan van Eyck Academie and at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie. Recent exhibitions include Petzel, New York, USA (2022); Office Baroque, Brussels, BE (2020); Annet Gelink, Amsterda, NL (2019) Reset, Borgloon, BE (2019); The Approach, London, UK (2018); Petzel, New York, USA (2017). Her work is part of the collection of: Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Amsterdam; The Rabobank Art Collection, Utrecht; The Art Collection of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Chicago; Zabludowicz Collection, London and New York.
Alina Szapocznikow (b. 1926, Kalisz, Poland; d. 1973, Praz Coûtant, France) had her first major solo exhibition in 1957 at the Zachęta National Gallery of Art in Warsaw, followed by her representation of Poland at the Venice Biennale in 1962. In 1967, another major exhibition of the artist’s work took place at Galerie Florence Houston Brown in Paris, which travelled to Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Warsaw. A friend to Louise Bourgeois, with whom she swapped works, the artist is frequently featured alongside her in exhibitions, along with Eva Hesse, Pauline Boty, and Maria Bartuszova, such as Awkward Objects at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw (2009). Solo exhibitions of the last decade include her show at WIELS in Brussels in 2012, which later travelled to the Hammer Museum, Wexner Center for the Arts, and The Museum of Modern Art, New York. In 2017, the Hepworth Wakefield hosted a major exhibition of her work, which was followed by To Exalt the Ephemeral: Alina Szapocznikow, 1962–1972 at Hauser & Wirth in London in 2020.
Erika Verzutti (b. 1971, São Paulo) lives and works in Brussels. She studied in London, completing her Postgraduate Diploma in Fine Arts at Goldsmiths College (1999), continuing as an associate research student (2000). Recent solo museum exhibitions include MASP, São Paulo, Brazil (2021); Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham (2021); Venus Yogini, Aspen Art Museum, Colorado, curated by Heidi Zuckerman (2019); Centre Pompidou, Paris, curated by Christine Macel (2019); Swan, Cucumber, Dinosaur, Pivô, São Paulo, curated by Fernanda Brenner (2016); Erika Verzutti: Swan with Stage, Sculpture Center, New York, curated by Ruba Katrib (2015) and Mineral, Tang Museum at Skidmore College, New York, curated by Ian Berry (2014). Major museums have acquired Verzutti’s work including Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo, São Paulo; Solomon R. Guggenheim, New York and Tate, London.