Artforum.com

Ian Pedigo at Cardenas Bellanger

By David Lewis

February, 2008

The sculptures of Ian Pedigo appear, at first, to fit squarely into the range of recent “unmonumental” practices: low-tech and formally delicate assemblages; a secular, materialist approach that shuns symbolic aspirations and the baggage of transcendence. At the same time, however, the exhibition conjures another world—of primordial landscapes and sacred elemental configurations. Inspired by Ice Age megaliths, In Their Errant Locations (all works 2009) comprises an arrangement of an inflatable rubber ball poised on fragments of wavellite and jasper. One imagines the sculpture, with its stretched survival blanket, as a hieratic landscape: the image of a more primitive, and therefore authentic, age. Certain Distances from the Floor suggests a sacred mountain; Deresaturation, a stretch of lighting gel just below the ceiling, recalls the Egyptian hieroglyph for sky. Fixed Neutral Loss (gain) is shaped like a simple roofed dwelling, and the artist’s use of felt alludes to Beuys, who founded his career on a myth of rebirth and archaic shelter. Last, it is hard not to imagine the stafflike The Evidence Is Indirect in shamanistic employ. What this discourse of primeval monumentality has in common with an otherwise urbane practice is, admittedly, hard to say, and it is not at all clear that the artist has untangled or fused the different languages or ideals. It will be interesting to see whether, and how, he does.