Christian Holstad: New Positions

Andrew Kreps Gallery

537/535 W. 22ND ST., New York

May 18 - June 24, 2017

Holstad’s practice is united not in material, but in approach – across installation, sculpture, collage and performance, he employs traditional techniques and meticulous craft to unexpected, and transformative ends. 

In New Positions, five larger than life-size ceramic figures populate the gallery, each derived from a single pattern based on Holstad’s own body. The pattern was first translated into crochet, then dipped in clay and fired, every step exaggerating and abstracting the artist’s form. In turn, the works function not as self-portraits, but as an intuitive meditation on the male figure. Hollow and classically postured, Holstad’s nudes each appear to be standing in a shower, or reclining in a bath, simultaneously imposing and vulnerable.

New pastel drawings and a large-scale collage position the figures together in a spa – not in the modern sense, but instead within a layered history of ritual bathing, an experience meant to better oneself both physically and mentally. Furthered by the presence of healing herbs and flowers, contained in a grouping of phallic vases that divides the gallery, the works collectively recast the male body as a vessel, able to receive, and change. 

New Positions is Christian Holstad’s second exhibition with the gallery. Past solo exhibitions of Holstad’s work include Toothpick, Massimo de Carlo, Milan, 2016, Corrections, Victoria Miro, London, 2014, I Confess, Galleria Civica di Modena, Modena, 2009, The Terms of Endearment, Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami, 2006, and Gaeity: Discovering the Lost Art (in Absentia), Kunsthalle Zurich, 2004. Holstad’s work is held in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, MoCA, Los Angeles, LACMA, Los Angeles, the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, among others.