Over the past few years, through photographs, films and sculpture, as well as interventions in the gallery space, Lassry has developed a reputation for the wit and rigour of his investigations into how we perceive and conceive pictures. In Hong Kong, Lassry presented a varied body of work, including pictures, sculptures and a drawing, as well as perversely hybrid objects that radically question the distinction between these media.
For Lassry, the act of looking, whether at a unique artwork, human face or generic coffee cup, is always a picture-making process, an instant that combines a particular sensual experience haunted by the memory of countless images that transform that experience. Brown, Red, Blue (2012) appears to be a picture of a sculpture, but the picture itself, in the form of the dominant hue, overflows and becomes inseparable from the sculptural frame. The picture has its own mysteries, seemingly a depiction of a scientific model of what looks like an organic substance breeding or multiplying. The artist’s sculpture, likewise, often flirts with the possibility that it is, instead, a picture. Untitled (Zebrawood Picture, Taupe) (2012) has a manifestly sculptural presence, with biomorphic shapes that bring to mind a relief by Jean Arp, and yet the scale perfectly reflects that of one of Lassry’s pictures. The work asserts itself as a sculpture while it hangs almost flat on the wall, with only one side visible to the viewer. Does the wood background act as a support or frame to the forms it presents, or is it integral to the artwork? Is it a still life or an abstraction, or both? These questions are further explored in Boston Shoulder Roasts (2012). Two palpable slabs of meat sit in a clean, clinical space. Behind them, two colour swatches suggest at once monochrome abstractions and a system for measuring colour. Framed in a fleshy red, the combination of specific, organic object, and a kind of distillation of its formal properties, creates a space in which we feel a tension between embodied experience and a set of abstract thoughts evoked by that experience. Within these spaces created by Lassry’s pictures and sculptures, a vibrant corporeality and a simultaneous longing for pure knowledge are suspended together in the pleasurable apprehension of the art object.
Elad Lassry was born in Tel Aviv in 1977; he lives and works in Los Angeles. His work has appeared in many international exhibitions, including solo shows at The Kitchen, New York (2012), PAC, Milan (2012), Rat Hole Gallery, Tokyo (2012), the Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis, MO (2010), Kunsthalle Zurich, Switzerland (2010) and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2009). Group exhibitions include the 54th Venice Biennale, International Pavilion; Deutsche Börse Photography Prize, The Photographers’ Gallery, London; The Anxiety of Photography, Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, CO (all 2011); Sculpture Center, New York; ‘New Photography 2010’, Museum of Modern Art, New York (2010) and ‘Younger Than Jesus’, New Museum, New York (2009).