Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Nasty Nice

The work of Melissa Ichiuji has been garnering a lot of attention these days, deservedly. Her strange cloth sculptures are somewhere between "Cirque de Soleil" and "the Brood": strange girlish creatures who are in turns sweet and predictable, and then, suddenly disturbingly destructive or sexual. The above image, "Caught," is one of the more frightening sculptures I have come across probably ever-- how many truly physically frightening sculptures are there (as opposed to those that are metaphysically disturbing)?

I applaud Ichiuji for making work that is both accessible and charming, and then, once having lulled you, unrestrainedly violent. Her details are unsparing: strange ovular tubes descending from young girls (or animals), strange lumps...she has honed in on our inherent fear of our flesh and innards, and our fear of the loss of innocence these girls represent.

Her work was exhibited at Irvine Contemporary in Washington DC this past spring.