Longing to Belong
James Lingwood on Mens Suits, 2009
Photograph by Julian Abrams
(page 3 of 4)
If the arrangement of ties can be anthropomorphised as a huddle of male bodies, the circular display racks of suits and shirts suggest the existential merry-go-round of work and play, life and death. The long line of suits gradually being sifted in the equivalent of a back room of a second-hand store allude to men waiting in line – queuing up to see something or somebody, to get a job or a ticket or a bowl of soup. Perhaps the lines and piles of clothing and stuffed laundry bags invoke even darker associations of human bodies being sorted and selected, classified and disposed of ? The differing struggles, biological, social and psychological which Darwin, Marx and Freud in turn elaborated are embedded within the materials and forms of LeDray’s work. Through absenting the representation of the body itself from his ensembles, and withholding any specific narrative development, LeDray frees the work up to address the broader matter of the ‘body of capital’ and a system which relies on the endless circulation, use and exchange of beings and things; and suggests the need to be selected, the desire to be wanted, the longing to belong.
Over the past century, the field of sculpture has gradually expanded to include an almost limitless vocabulary of forms and materials. Sculpture’s rapid embrace of the vernacular - from Picasso and Duchamp to Oldenberg and Judd - marks out the development of the medium through the past century and Mens Suits relates a recent history of the medium and how much it owes to the vernacular forms it feeds off and plays with, and the everyday materials it uses; the grids of industrial materials on the floor and ceiling, the industrially made metal boxes, fluorescent lights and plexiglas; the piles of clothing, stacks of shirts and lines of material, one thing after another; the adoption of systems of manufacturing and display intended to eliminate the anthropomorphic form, and also the continuing reluctance of the figure to depart the stage of sculpture; the framing and fracturing of fields of vision, the constant centering and decentering of the work and the viewer; gatherings of dust, interjections of text, scatterings of form. LeDray’s sculpture knowingly replays a wide repertoire of languages and form whilst returning the objects he makes and groups to their origins within a world of manufacture and display.
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