Ear Sofa; Nose Sconces with Flowers (in Stage Setting), 2017

Basel 2017
Marian Goodman Gallery, Sprüth Magers
mixed media
John Baldessari’s tableau vivant Ear Sofa; Nose Sconces with Flowers (in Stage Setting) is a unique manifestation of the artist’s careerlong engagement with a Surrealism-inflected conceptual art. The installation is comprised of an ear-shaped sofa and two wall-mounted upturned noses housing flowers in a dramatic stage setting, made absurd by the presence of a model and a poodle. The work alludes to Hollywood’s period of Art Deco glamour and theatricality with its semicircular arch on a stage-like pedestal. The ear and nose have a strong prop-like quality, like plaster cast models for a life drawing class or the temporary constructions of a film set. With these sensory organs rescaled and inserted into a new spatial configuration, they are divested of their humanity but re-gifted a new human edge with the presence of the model and poodle in the dramatic mise en scène.