Slideshow

Really Real Reality

The Walker's 'Lifelike' exhibit

of
  • CROUCHING BOY IN MIRROR by RON MUECK, 1999/2002
  • CURTAIN by PETER ROSTOVSKY, 2010
  • DUMPSTER by KAZ ISHIRO, 2011
  • UNTITLED by MAURIZIO CATTELAN, 2001
  • HEARTLAND by JONATHAN SELIGER, 2010
  • WEEDS by YOSHIHIRO SUDA, 2008

Experiencing the artwork in Lifelike, a show opening at the Walker Art Center, is a three-step process, says curator Siri Engberg: seeing a thing and thinking it’s real, then realizing it’s a reproduction of an otherwise ordinary object or scene, then realizing it’s a reproduction and a work of art. This last has to do with the fact that the art in the show not only re-creates, but also reframes reality.

Lifelike features works by more than 50 artists from the 1960s to the present, all of whom toy with the very idea of reality, but in much different ways. Objects in the show may look familiar, but most aren’t what they seem. A piece by Thomas Demand re-creates the sights and sounds of a rainstorm in vivid detail. But take a closer look and you’ll discover that “it’s actually an animation of candy wrappers, and the sound is bacon frying in a pan,” says Engberg. “Yet it’s very convincing.”

Sometimes the objects are what they seem, but the materials of which they are made are unexpected: a bee made of human hair, a balsa wood and acrylic Pink Pearl eraser, a Hefty trash bag made from marble. These lifelike objects—altered, expanded, transformed—offer what Engberg describes as a “conceptual jumping-off point.”

“It’s not about looking at something and rendering it, but rather process, materials, and means,” says Engberg. “It’s about things that provoke ideas, not just things that look like things.” Feb. 25. Walker Art Center, 612-375-7600, walkerart.org


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