Perry Rubenstein Gallery is pleased to announce its presentation of The Humors, a group exhibition with works by Jim Lambie, Martin Kippenberger, Georg Herold, Paul McCarthy, Mike Kelley, and others that closely ties together different principles of the human temperament with a directed eye toward the ironic.
Reaching back to ancient Greco-Roman medical and psychological practice, man has attempted to explore and define the nature and origin of human temperament, seeking to capture how these qualities manifest in relationship to both health and environment. The “four temperaments” or “four humors” refer to the psychosomatic components of human health, postulating that the ideal personality is a balanced mixture of the four: sanguine (confident and optimistic), choleric (ambitious and dominating), melancholic (analytic and considerate) and phlegmatic (subdued and quiet).
In an investigation of the characteristics that make humans human in contemporary culture, the ancient “four humors” act as a point of departure for the group exhibition The Humors presented at Perry Rubenstein Gallery this summer. The installation will place a series of figurative works in juxtaposition with works that operate within the construct of the absence of the figure, together exploring the transience between human states with psychological depth, wit, humor and irony.
Works grounded in conceptual rigor reference past and present popular culture as a point of entry for viewers. Central to the exhibition is Georg Herold’s Mont Parnass (2011/2013), an anthropomorphic large-scale wood lath and canvas sculpture, the title of which looks back to Mount Parnassus – the home of the nine Greek mythological muses of the arts and sciences. Jim Lambie’s Ringo (2007), named for the Beatles’ left-handed drummer, consists of a ceiling-mounted cabinet, flipped upside-down, from which three cymbals hang precariously close to the gallery’s floor; the whimsical treatment of the generic denotes functionality, flair and human necessity. Paul McCarthy’s well-known work Drop Head / Bounce Head (2009), a disfigured silicone bust of Disney’s interpretation of Pinocchio, fuses a visual language most often associated with adolescent innocence with the abject and, as such, reveals extraordinary and dark Freudian implications.
The exhibition humorously examines the use of proto-psychological devices that have helped us understand the range and variance in human temperament at different moments in time. Further, it illuminates the critical importance of figurative work throughout history, as well as the significance of its resurgence in contemporary art.