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Published 2018 by Innen.
28 pages.

Imagery from Helmut Lang’s solo show at the Dallas Contemporary.

“Burry”, a pastoral term which refers to a soft material being covered by protective barbs, is the exhibition’s title and reflects its predominant material – in this instance, sheepskin. The pelts, familiar in Lang’s work as designer are recontextualized through a heavily tarred and painted treatment in blacks and metallics. Taking a soft, warm fabric that has practical use, as well as shamanistic and mythological implications, demonstrates both Lang’s understanding of tactile texture as well as historical and alchemical connotations. Both in alchemy and in mining, sheepskin was used to separate gold from dirts and alluvial fluids. This notion runs true in Lang’s prolific body of work, by the creation of precious materials from the everyday and mundane, with the skin’s original function retained as an echo of memory.

Traversing this material history of an object with permeations of volume, light and form, as well as ruminating on the idea of abstraction vs figuration, the artist’s use of the gallery space when paired with the aforementioned material choice, creates an unexpected sense of weightiness and foreboding by contrasting the heavy objects with their precarious positioning in the space.