Nothing is sacred in Peter Regli’s world. And nothing’s not sacred. For “Sleeping Stone,” his sculpture installation outside Karma bookstore and gallery’s Long Island outpost, the Swiss-born sculptor assembled a garden of curiosities based on religion, myth, and plain-old fantasy.
Made of marble and installed in groupings, the monuments included outsize piggy banks, a couple of rabbits about to do what bunnies do best, a Zen mouse, a black snowperson, a Japanese Maneki-Neko fortune-cat statue that luckily can’t wave its arm, and a statue of Hayagriva, the horse-headed avatar of the Indian god Vishnu. We got to meet all the clans, as Regli refers to them, and, through their improbable juxtapositions, consider how irreverence, passion, and humor link traditions ranging from classical Greek through Egyptian, Chinese, Indian, and our own contemporary pop.
These historical disruptions and cultural interpretations, and misinterpretations, were a witty demonstration of Regli’s “reality hacking,” which he equates with hacking on the Web, entailing often anonymous interventions in landscapes and other public spaces. He has staged sound compositions using foghorns, sirens, and motorboats on a Zurich lake, for instance, and filled train cars with blue fog. Here, he set up a level playing field that united the real, the esthetic, and the absurd.
A version of this story originally appeared in the October 2014 issue of ARTnews on page 124.