Man at the Center of Men
Vielmetter Los Angeles is honored to present Nicole Eisenman's 2019 sculpture Man at the Center of Men. Sculpted from plaster, foam, fiberglass, and epoxy resin, Man at the Center of Men is exemplary of Eisenman's radically indeterminate and open approach to making narratives, metaphors, and allegories of the human experience. Man at the Center of Men was a central element of the artist's 2019 Whitney Biennial installation, shown on the Whitney Museum of American Art's 6th-floor terrace, as part of a massive installation of walking figures entitled Procession, 2019. There, the sculpture was together with its fellows through wind, rain, and sun; and has since been exhibited at The Contemporary Austin and the Astrup Fearnley Museum in Oslo.
Here in Los Angeles, viewers can see the work separate from the assembled figures of Eisenman’s procession/parade/protest/migration. And yet, tellingly, Man at the Center of Men is a representation of persons or personhood as structurally co-dependent: The sculpture is a single mass representing one figure on all fours with another figure perched on his back (though the separation between back and bottom is implied, they are in fact fused here and obviously so) sunning their face with light reflected off two mirrors inside the lids of stainless steel trashcans. This bonded pair, and indeed the procession they create together as well as the procession they were part of previously, suggests myriad possible interpretations from reflections on the abject conditions that make possible the experience of privilege and leisure to the entanglements and obligations of mutual aid, generosity, and exploitation. Neither separate nor mutually exclusive, this expanded possibility of meaning highlights the ineffable experience of being a person - grief and loss and terror and tragedy walk right alongside and have a beer with joy and abundance and safety and the mundane.
Nicole Eisenman is a MacArthur Foundation Fellow and was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2018. Their work was included in both the 2019 Venice Biennale and the 2019 Whitney Biennial. Recent solo exhibitions include Giant Without a Body, at the Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo, Norway; Sturm und Drang, at the Contemporary Austin, Austin, TX; Baden Baden Baden, at the Staatliche Kunsthalle in Baden-Baden, Germany; Dark Light, at Vielmetter Los Angeles; Dark Light, at Secession in Vienna, Austria; and Al-ugh-ories, at the New Museum, New York.