Orly Genger: Whole
Known for transforming common nylon climbing rope into elaborate monumental sculptures, New York-based artist Orly Genger has created Whole, a unique site-specific installation, in response to the IMAs Efroymson Family Entrance Pavilion. Gengers project for the IMA is her largest and most ambitious to date, incorporating thousands of feet of rope, which she hand-knots, paints and stacks, creating immense sculptures that confront the viewer.
Looped and knotted by hand, Whole evokes the normally intimate processes of knitting and crocheting, yet expands them to a newly epic scale. Gengers work challenges typical associations with craft and textile through its intensely physical creation process, in which the artist wrestles rope into knots and amasses it into powerful sculptural objects. The resulting works are intended to provoke a visceral physical response from viewers, challenging them to reconsider their relationship to the normally unobstructed space around them and forcing them to navigate the space in new ways. Comprised of nine different sculptures, Whole is impossible to fully grasp from a single viewpoint, and in its interplay between its fragmented parts calls into question the nature of wholeness itself.
In its reductive abstract vocabulary, Whole responds to the legacy of Minimalist art, and particularly the muscular abstractions of artists such as Richard Serra. Yet by using pliable rope to weave these monolithic forms, Genger also draws on the Post-Minimalist legacy of artists such as Eva Hesse and Lynda Benglis. Gengers sculpture embodies an elemental tension between obdurate mass and empty space, between hard-edge geometry and organic softness.
Special thanks to the Efroymson Family Fund, a CICF Fund, for their generous support of this project. And to Larissa Goldston Gallery and Universal Limited Art Editions.