tom claassen

17 September 1999 - 23 October 1999
Stephen Friedman Gallery is pleased to present the first solo exhibition of Dutch artist Tom Claassen in Britain.

Tom Claassen uses a mixture of unconventional and traditional materials such as sand, rubber and bronze to draw attention to the surface or ‘skin' of his sculptures. The ambiguous forms of his works have been described as "psychomorphic": vaguely familiar shapes, whether human, animal or other seem to emerge from his material, hovering in a semi-state between creation and dissolution.

For this exhibition, Claassen has created three humanoid figures in black polyurethane. Their uneven and yet palpable surfaces evoke a tension that is apparent in all his sculptures. Their deflated and shell-like appearance negates the threat inherent in the subversion of familiar shapes. The ambivalent poses of the figures accentuate their immobilisation and dysfunctionality.

In the back gallery, Claassen undermines the traditional heroic connotations of bronze sculpture. Once again, through attention to the surface, the artist imbues an air of vulnerability and absurdity to animals that normally evoke notions of power and majesty. Ultimately, there is a hint of pathos in his works that belies the sense of superficiality which emphasis on texture and surface can arouse.

Tom Claassen has recently exhibited at the Kunsthalle Lund in Sweden and the Stedelijk Museum in Schiedam, The Netherlands. He has also participated in the 23rd São Paolo Bienal and the 4th Istanbul Bienal.

This exhibition was made possible with the support from the Mondriaan Foundation Amsterdam, for the advancement of the visual arts, design and museums.