A floor above the bustling Bowery, a dreamscape is taking place: a bright orange hand, suspended midair, pinches the flesh of a column, as if sculpting itself. In a stage set-like environment, lined with flowing curtains and lit with bright bulbs, British-born, New York-based sculptor Jesse Wine imagines this incongruous constellation of strange objects in movement. The Bath (2020) [pictured], which looks like a Brancusi column embedded in a 3D Dalí, with limbs rising unsteadily from its ceramic-and-iron base, “takes a deep breath, bracing its stiff joints to rise…. [then] begin[s] to articulate and move,” to greet the other players on the stage.
But the show is less an escape from the city than an anxiety dream permeated with its disquiet. Interior and façade are mish-mashed in Extraordinary popular delusions and the madness of crowds (2020): limbs lean amorously against each other atop a quilted mattress, aping the architectural joints of the house beside, and evoking Dutch artist and architect Madelon Vriesendorp’s idea of the “sexual ecstasy of cities” as well as her cautioning that "Disaster follows ecstasy. Like form follows function." In Desire and value (2020) a truncated foot, each scrawny and sinewy knuckle articulated with clenched tension, readies for motion, but folds forward instead—poised for movement, but fated to collapse.
Jesse Wine, The Bath, 2020. Ceramic, iron, glaze, 42 x 56 x 25 inches. Photo: Dario Lasagni.