The crisis casts a colorful semantic shadow when the Dutch artist fabricates his sculptures made out of cardboard and metal screws. With sympathetic perseverance and reduced, carefully chosen means and gestures he creates a small and clever wonderland.
The subtly amorphous trees are the most eye-catching assets in the exhibition and lead the cardboard material back to its roots, forming at the same time as tentacles frozen in a dancing movement. So, the familiar seems to coexist with the uncanny here.
Generally, it is the multifaceted lines of tradition and references, that make up the fascination surrounding Jerry Kowalsky. He sees himself primarily as a sculptor, but he is also a painter and draughtsman who is able to create astonishing things (roughly somewhere in between Cornelia Schleime and Francis Bacon).
The empty shoes – custom-made in an Italian style – are the classic representatives of the absentee, placeholders of the beholder, but they are also spirits evoked by small gestures, as the Belgian Mariën 1949 summoned them as “L’ esprit de l’ escalier” (The Spirit of the Staircase): Two shoes placed on adjacent steps, photographed, there we go with the “staircase wit” – the second meaning of the French term – and we have the fleeting genius tied down on top. In Jerry Kowalsky’s universe they, the shoes, stand in front of a hut made up of neon light and serve as a bridge to a chess game, which knows neither winner nor loser due to a minimal color conversion. (Then again, maybe the shoes have moved elsewhere in the meantime, who knows?) On the one hand, this waves cheerfully in the direction of the Fluxus game experiments, but it also has a bit of David Lynch to it.
And then there’s the walls with colorful noses and ears stuck to them – what kind of creatures might have lost those, we wonder – it breathes all of a sudden, it can smell and hear us, becomes sensual and once again „creepy“.Are we being monitored visually and olfactory?
At first, all we can do is throwing our gaze at this ensemble. Thoughts are coming in later, staying behind a bit like a staircase wit. But once they‘re caught, they stay and can linger for a long time.