Russian-born sculptor Alexander Brodsky has received recognition in recent years for large-scale public projects. In 1997 he transformed flooded train tracks in a disused subway station under Manhattan's Canal Street into an imaginative Venetian waterway complete with gondolas. More recently in Pittsburgh, the 44-year-old artist unveiled Palazzo Nudo, a soaring monument made of architectural fragments salvaged from some historic buildings that could not escape real estate developers' wrecking balls.
This sprawling gallery exhibition at Ronald Feldman, aptly titled "Grey Matter," features mostly terra-cotta objects in shades of gray, offering a glimpse inside the artist's brain. Ultimately, Brodsky's work deals with the social and political upheavals of the former Soviet Union, but the sculptures and two-dimensional objects on view also operate on a very intimate, personal level.
In the front room is a long table piled with terra-cotta objects relating to Brodsky's upbringing, like toy cars, food items (a can of sardines), a microscope and a stylized bust of Lenin. Subtly illuminated bathtubs with ceramic water pipes are installed against one of the walls. The rear gallery is dominated by a huge fruit bowl and an over-life-size dog that sits on the floor watching a TV propped up on cinder blocks. Flashing on the TV's cracked screen are flickering black-and-white images shot from the window of a car as it races though city streets. Brodsky, in this show, takes viewers on a breathtaking and exhilarating ride.
Alexander Brodsky, "Grey Matter," Nov. 20- Dec. 18, 1999, at Ronald Feldman, 31 Mercer St., New York, N.Y. 10013. Photo credit: John Lamka.