Eleven works from 2009 by the young German artist Katinka Bock were on view in “A sculpture for two different ways of doing two different things.” Just through the front door, the makeshift obstacle Einsicht, comprising a tall sheet of plywood set askew and held in place by a large-ish stone on the floor, physically blocked one entry into the gallery. Einsicht translates as “insight,” and the view it simultaneously offered and partially obstructed created spatial ambiguity and an acute visual curiosity that governed one’s encounter with the rest of the works. As is characteristic of Bock’s practice, the pieces on view were made of minimally manipulated found objects and natural materials—wood, leather, stone, fabric, plaster, graphite and clay—with the exception of two less compelling works on paper.
A detour into the main gallery was provided through an adjacent doorway. Visually echoing a slim pillar in the center of the room was The Bed, a branch almost fully encased in a vertical rectangle of plaster resembling a 2-by-4 leaning upright against the wall. Next to it, a soft, hand-trimmed, fawn-colored scrap of leather had been threaded through a horizontal slit in the wall (Correspondences). The wall in question conceals an element of the gallery’s original architecture, a set of windows onto the street. The other side of the leather scrap was visible from the street and thus drew attention to an otherwise unremarkable facade. The slackly dangling animal skin contrasted with the rigidity of A Place, a rectangular block of wood attached near the top of a stone support pillar in the gallery, and The Zone (Ground), a wire pulled taut diagonally from the wall to the floor by a magnet lodged there. Close to the wall underneath this metallic slash sat Evening Sculpture,a lovely square of buff terra-cotta loosely folded, like a blanket, and set on a deep blue square of fabric. In the farther reaches of the gallery a delicate wavy line of conjoined twigs stretched across a wall (Partition in Autumn) like a hilly horizon, and hovered over Shipwreck, a small terra-cotta square with a scratched surface placed on a patched square of concrete on the floor.
There was a constant play of visual, physical and textural associations and distinctions in this markedly understated collection of objects. But their subdued individual natures belied the force with which they competed for your attention. Bock has a keen sense of spatial dynamics. Her seemingly nonchalant arrangement triggered a nonlinear, nonhierarchical mode of circulation that allowed each work to be both viewed from a distance and closely scrutinized. In the end, multiplicity rather than duality reigned.
Photo: Katinka Bock: Insight, 2009, stone, wood, plaster, cloth and nails; at Jocelyn Wolff.