Sarah Sze's Return of the Real

The sculptor conjures a low-budget cosmos. Plus, Alejandro Almanza Pereda's concrete cascade.

For a second take on the poetry and, in this particular case, the violence inherent in the everyday, consider the work of the Mexican sculptor Alejandro Almanza Pereda. Currently on view at Magnan Metz Gallery in Chelsea, Almanza Pereda's collections of plaster sculpture and construction material teeter on the brink of catastrophic collapse—potentially with bone-crushing results.

One sculpture in this terrific show, The Tie That Binds, features a foundation's worth of cinder blocks snake-charmed into a vertical cascade no space-age cement can hold. The secret? A single thread of steel chain fastened by a padlock from which dangles a pound and a half of janitor's keys. A second sculpture consists of a multi-tiered framework built from fluorescent bulbs. The fact that each level supports several potted plants means that—as these grow—the sculpture will eventually overrun its scaffolding and blot out its skeleton of light.

Tom Powel Imaging; courtesy the artist and Tanya Bonakdar, New York
Stuff, and more stuff: Szeís 360 (Portable Planetarium) (details), 2010

Details

Sarah Sze
Tanya Bonakdar Gallery
521 West 21st Street
212-414-4144, tanyabonakdargallery.com
Through October 23

Alejandro Almanza Pereda
Magnan Metz Gallery
521 West 26th Street
212-244-2344, magnanmetz.com
Through October 23

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Yet the best description of this thoughtful, intimidating exhibition belongs to the artist himself: "I imagine a structure that is contained by its contents: a museum contained by the artworks, a library contained by its books, an aquarium contained by water." Enough said.

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