McCabe Fine Art presents New York artist Barry X Ball at Nomad St. Moritz 2022
Preview: 1 March, 2022, 4-7PM.
Opening hours: 2-5 March, 11AM-7PM, and 6 March, 11-5PM.
Nomad St. Moritz: Chesa Planta, Mulins 2, 7503 Samedan, Switzerland.
Barry X Ball. Purity and Envy: An Intimate Allegory.
McCabe Fine Art is proud to showcase three works from Barry X Ball's renowned "Masterpiece" series (2008–2022) in a special project for NOMAD St. Moritz (March 1–6, 2022) titled Purity and Envy: An Intimate Allegory.
The three sculptures presented at the Chesa Planta museum have historical antecedents and appear quite at home in the sixteenth century fresco-filled drawing room of what was once the von Salis family home. Displayed on grand lacquered-wood-and-marble pedestals, Ball's Baroque-style portrait busts could almost be part of the room's original décor, and yet there is a deeper connection. Ball's sculptures are also enriched by the extraordinary history, culture and natural landscape of the surrounding Engadine Valley itself. "Sculptural" is one way to describe this region of the Swiss Alps, the birthplace of Giacometti whose own dramatic mountainous topography was carved and molded over many millennia. In this unique context, Ball's sculptures—reincarnations of Baroque marble busts hewn by robots and refined by thousands of hours of traditional handwork—unexpectedly engage with both Modernism and mother nature.
As much as Ball's sculptures seem a perfect fit for the sumptuous period drawing room, a closer look reveals that these "Masterpieces" are not themselves antiques nor are they meant to be precise replicas of such. As seen here, in a setting steeped in art history and natural wonders, the questions raised by Ball's work around notions of originality, perfection, virtuosity, and connoisseurship seem to resonate more clearly than ever.
Two sculptures, each titled Envy, are based on a Baroque marble bust by Giusto Le Court (La Invidia, c. 1670) depicting an old woman who grimaces as one of the many snakes coiled around her head slithers down to bite at her chest. Working from this original (which is in the permanent collection of Venice's Ca' Rezzonico museum), Ball has created similar—but also entirely new—personifications of this deadly sin. Envy, 2008–2019, is carved from Bolivian Sodalite (Lapis Lazuli aggregate), an extraordinary blue and ochre tinged stone whose intense hues and irregular veins and swirls intensify the corrosive sense of pain embodied by the figure. In stark contrast Ball's other Envy, 2008–2014, is hewn from a bright white Carrara marble that accentuates the sculpture's corporeal curves and even approximates supple skin. In addition to these obvious differences, Ball's Envy sculptures diverge from their source material in subtler ways. Those familiar with Le Court's original may notice that Ball's figures seem softer, more polished, more complete and show no signs of age or other damage.
The third sculpture on view, Purity, 2008–2021, is based on another marble bust in Ca' Rezzonico's permanent collection: Antonio Corradini's La Purità, 1720–1725. In this case, Ball again makes both dramatic and subtle changes to his source sculpture, a tour de force Baroque carving of a fully veiled figure. Working with a beautiful translucent pink Iranian onyx, polished so that it appears to emanate light from within, Ball has created a mirror of the original sculpture. Is this reflection more beautiful or perfect than the original? These and many other questions are left for the viewer to ponder.
Please click HERE to download an Overview about Barry X Ball and the checklist of the works on view at Nomad St. Moritz.
About McCabe Fine Art:
Launched by art advisor and dealer Paul Frank McCabe in 1997, McCabe Fine Art is dedicated to turning clients' passion for modern and contemporary art into exquisite, comprehensive collections. With a personalized and holistic approach to collecting, McCabe helps clients set and realize long-term goals. Working with institutions and private collectors worldwide, McCabe provides discrete expert counsel on placement and acquisitions.
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