Charles Ray Boy With Frog: The exhibitions events

Charles Ray Boy With Frog: The exhibitions events

While Charles Ray is celebrated for the first time by an institution in France, his work seems to be more relevant than ever in his research on space, and the representation of reality.

Charles Ray exhibited at the board of trade and at the Pompidou Center

” The artist works with his own hands, but today times have changed and I work with the hands of twenty people.” Born in 1953 in Chicago, United States, the artist Charles Ray has made his name thanks to his strange and mysterious sculpture, that calls the perceptive judgment of the viewer in question- plunging into a conflicting and quite unexpected habit.

Today celebrated in a double exhibition held simultaneously on the board of Trade and the Pompidou Center, Charles Ray’s work is appreciated in a more global dimension, as this exhibition brings together one of his most iconic works.

Boy with frog, 2009, is a key work of Charles Ray expression. Ordered by François Pinault to mark the reopening of the exhibition space Punta della Dogana in Venice, Boy with frog is a monumental and powerful work of art by the message it delivers. What is it?

Pinault’s art-house says: ” A naked child on a large scale observes a frog (conraua Goliath), a symbol of resurrection and metamorphosis, those he hols the paw in his closed fist. The purity of the curves and the bright white reminds ancient statuary, including the Kourios of the 6th century BC and the Spinario of the 5th century BC. It also evokes the David of Donatello (15th century) brandishing the head of Goliath. Through the demonstration of such sources, Charles Ray engages his sculpture in a fruitful dialogue with the history of art.”

But the Boy with frog is overall a very perosnnal work. After undergoing open-heart surgery, the artist recalled his science classes where he had to dissect alive frogs to observe their organism. It is this reminiscence that he projects in the hands of Abel, a recurring pattern in his work since it is the son of his cousin… Boy with frog, a polemical work during its exhibition in Venice, is ultimately a work that gives life to the artist himself…

Another of Charles Ray’s key works is Fall ’91, created in 1992… The work represents a woman standing, her weight mainly distributed on one foot in a common pose. Modeled on a mannequin measuring more than one meter eighty, the sculpture occupies an important place in space. Wearing a tailor typical of working girls of the 90s, the work stands out and provokes an intimidating feeling—both physical and psychological.

Charles Ray explains, “When it comes to Fall’ 91, often referred to more simply as The Big Lady, it’s important to remember that it’s not a mediocre woman’s sculpture, but a large model’s sculpture! When it is well installed, two things can happen when the spectator approaches: either the model grows, or the spectator shrinks. The sculpture respects all the normal proportions of a mannequin. The only modified convention is the scale: the sculpture is 30% larger than a store mannequin. At a certain distance, the sculpture seems to have the right size. […] Space itself becomes a dynamic material, which penetrates the elements constituting the work. The sculpture is not placed in space, it is made of space, which is a fluid dynamic in which our very existence is bathed.”

The is all emblematic work art of Charles Ray, visible for the first time in France- an art where minor modifications, but symptomatic of the family situation gives Charles Ray’s sculpture a disturbing tension about our reality. A work where the downgraded and invisible of contemporary societies find a close expression with ancient sculptures!

Thus inviting the spectator to think on the very idea of sculpture and its subject, Charles Ray can boast of relying on a great knowledge of the matter. Endowed with a thorough knowledge of the history of sculptural art, from ancient Greek sculptures to the creations of some of his contemporaries, Charles Ray’s art attracts attention for its immediacy… An immediacy to several readings that thus questions the expected representation of the spectator in sculptural art.

Offering in reality to experience a new relationship with reality, Charles Ray pushes the reflection to give different keys to the understanding of reality itself… An invitation to question what we are given to see and perceive, in art and beyond.